After the final piece of turkey is gone, the last snap of football completed and the inevitable food coma that follows that third helping of pumpkin pie, another Thanksgiving comes to an end for families across the nation.
But just because the food and football is over doesn’t mean it’s time to let sleep whisk the rest of the day away. In fact, you might want to set an alarm or make sure one of your family members wakes you up from your slumber so you can get out and enjoy another tradition—Black Friday shopping.
“There is an excitement,” said Mary Mokwa, manager of Southridge Mall. “Based on the sales trends we’ve seen this year, there’s a buildup to the holiday season and I think people are going to spending more in addition to enjoying the experience.”
Although the mall doesn’t officially open for business until Midnight Friday, the doors will open at 11 p.m. Thursday so shoppers can come in and keep warm, then wait near the stores they plan to visit. Mokwa said guest services staff will be available to help shoppers find the stores they’re looking for and the first 200 people to come to guest services will receive a shopping survival kit with coupons, samples from Southridge stores, a special can of soda, Band-Aids and a magnet with the mall’s holiday hours on it.
Mokwa said there’s added excitement for the holiday shopping season at Southridge because the remodel of the mall was recently completed, a new Santa set has been put in place, new holiday décor has gone up and the new trackless train is up and running in the mall.
It’s also the first holiday season for Macy’s to be open at the store and several new stores—Crazy 8, Teavana, Tilly’s and Body Central—all recently opened and The Buckle has opened its new store within the mall.
Justice is working to open by Friday, Mokwa said, but if it’s unable to, the store will still open by next week.
“There’s just this energy and excitement going on and it’s just fun,” she said.
In addition to the new store and early hours, Southridge is also offering free coffee and doughnuts to shoppers throughout the day, the Toys For Tots campaign will kick off at 6 a.m. with the Marines present and WMIL doing a live broadcast throughout the day and entertainers will be around the mall for shoppers to enjoy all day. Gift wrapping services will also kick off Friday courtesy of the Oklahoma Avenue Lutheran Church.
The mall will remain open until 10 p.m. and Mokwa said staff will be providing refreshments to workers as well for their efforts.
Black Friday shoppers also get the opportunity to get free money at the mall with Mokwa saying she and other Southridge staff will be walking around and handing out gift cards randomly to shoppers. She said Tilly’s is also handing out gift cards valued between $10 and $100 for the first 100 people who enter the store.
Can’t Wait to Shop? Try Sears
If you can’t wait until Midnight to start your shopping, Sears at Southridge will be opening at 8 p.m. Thursday to accommodate shoppers.
Sears will start offering its door buster deals when the store opens and remain open until 10 p.m. Friday. Mokwa said the doors into the mall from Sears will remain closed until the rest of Southridge opens.
Want to try and beat the crowd? Mokwa said shoppers will ebb and flow throughout the day with the first lull coming around 4 a.m., which lasts until roughly 6 a.m. However, if you’re ready for the rush and want to try and get some of those free gifts for early shoppers, you can always get into the mall at 11 p.m. and fight the crowd for the best deal.
“It’s impossible for us to tell how many, but I can tell you there will be a huge crowd at midnight waiting for the doors to open,” Mokwa said. “For many, many, many, shoppers it’s a tradition to go out at midnight when the stores open.”
The fun continues all weekend, with special events planned at Center Court on Saturday and Sunday.