SWEETWATER, Fla. (WSVN) — Why wait for Black Friday to kick off the holiday shopping season when you can start spending on Thanksgiving Day? Stores and malls across South Florida, including Dolphin Mall, have tweaked their hours in order to give customers what they want.
Dolphin and Sawgrass malls will be open at 10 a.m. until midnight on Thanksgiving, a shift from last year’s evening start time. On Thursday, the mall set the mood with some snow, and Santa showed up as well.
“I’m going to be cooking tonight, and then I’ll start the stores early tomorrow,” said shopper Tanatha Cooks.
“They gonna shop until they drop,” said shopper Keith Jeffcoat.
“Everything’s on sale,” exclaimed shopper Ashley Wagener.
“Sometimes you want to wear a special shirt for that evening,” said Madelyn Bello Calvar at Dolphin Mall.
“I want a car from Santa that I can put my baby in,” explained shopper Fyre Hodges.
One shopper, Sheila Ramos, is visiting from the Dominican Republic. Ramos said she has already done her fair share of shopping at the mall.
“Taking advantage of the occasion and Black Friday” said Ramos.
Although, some shoppers were taken to stores against their will this Thanksgiving. “Honestly, my girl,” said Shane Hardison. “She dragged me out here to get a couple of things for the family. We are definitely having dinner later!”
From the young to the old, shoppers always have presents on their mind. Perhaps the Santa Claus at the mall gave them some inspiration.
And then there’s that promise of discounted prices before Black Friday. Who can say no?
“I think we’re good to come back here,” said shopper Jaqueline Lara.
Melissa Revilla said she gets her shopping out of the way on Wednesday, then spends Thanksgiving with family.
“Thanksgiving is to have food with the family and enjoy and then Friday… They should all be closed tomorrow” Revilla said.
Beyond the malls, more than 240 shops and big box stores across Miami-Dade County are gearing up for a steady flow of holiday shoppers, including Kohl’s, which will have an evening opening time.
“Kohl’s will be opening on Thanksgiving Day at 6 p.m. and will be open all the way through Friday at midnight,” explained Kohl’s Kendall store manager Raul Morales.
That 6 p.m. start time will also apply to all Wal-Mart stores. Furthermore, this year, there is a reason to be less concerned about sold out sale items.
“What we’re doing this year is we’re starting earlier so they can buy some of the items online already, at 12:01 a.m., Eastern time, on Thursday,” said Wal-Mart Doral store manager Willy Santizo.
For the tech gurus on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, Best Buy has advertised some of the bigger deals for the two days. Shoppers at the Hialeah location have begun lining up, some with tents and chairs.
Drones, 4K televisions and virtual reality headsets are making their way onto many consumers’ lists. “You can either walk out with one for free with the purchase of a Galaxy S7,” said Best Buy employee Gabriela Hernandez. “Or you can get one for half off!”
On top of all that, certain stores that are looking to maximize their sales with aggressive in-store promotions can count on local demand and international tourists who have made shopping a holiday tradition.
“I think people will come out and shop, like me, who takes time out from your busy schedule to come for Thanksgiving specials,” explained shopper Jenise Stephens.
Dolphin Mall is continuing their tradition of dropping snow at their main entrance, beginning now until Jan. 8th. “I mean, getting snow in Miami, I don’t think you’ll get it anywhere else,” said shopper Natalie Betancourt. “It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s different! As you can see, there’s plenty of it!”
Last year, Dolphin Mall was open for 29 hours straight, and they’d do about the same this year. They believe the shift will give retailers time to restock.
The Holiday hours for Dolphin Mall’s “Magical Weekend of Shopping” are:
Thursday, Nov. 24: 10 a.m. – midnight
Friday, Nov. 25: 7 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 26: 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 27: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Holiday hours for Sawgrass Mills Mall:
Thursday, Nov. 24: 10 a.m.-midnight
Friday, Nov. 25: 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
For a complete list of individual store hours you can head to www.blackfriday.com.
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