AVENTURA, FLA. (WSVN) - - After the turkey comes the shopping, and thousands of people across South Florida cashed in on some hot deals this Black Friday.
Shoppers have been flooding retailers across Miami-Dade and Broward counties since Thanksgiving night.
Friday afternoon, customers flocked to the Apple Store at Aventura Mall while others were seen carrying bags filled with holiday presents.
Jessica Fajardo told 7News she had been at Aventura since 10 a.m. and got every gift on her list. “We got everybody, about 20 people,” she said.
7Skyforce HD hovered over several nearby stores, like a Best Buy located just north of the mall, where customers lined up for doorbuster deals.
Meanwhile, at Dolphin Mall in Sweetwater, a wave of people walked inside in the early hours.
Santa Claus himself made several stops, with a grand arrival at Southland Mall in Cutler Bay.
Father Christmas then traveled north to Aventura, where Marcus Silva and his dad are skipped the Black Friday savings to make some memories instead. “You just gotta take those moments with your family and be happy,” said Silva.
At Sawgrass Mills, nothing could stopped Tara Schreiver, who skipped Thanksgiving and has been going since 3 p.m. — on Thursday.
Schreiver was accompanied by her out-of-town friend Alisa Cravey. They said they’re relying on energy drinks and each other to get through the Black Friday madness.
“The deals, the thrill, the friendship,” said Cravey. “We’ve been friends since we were 5 and just the happiness. I’m from Port St. Lucie, and I drove down.”
7News caught up with the two friends later in the day, and Schreiver gave an update. “[We] started off at J.C. Penney’s for the sales they had going on,” she said. “We went to three different Wal-Marts, Targets and Coral Square Mall and Broward Mall.”
Cravey and Schreiver were not alone. Thousands of shoppers took advantage of bargains prior to the Black Friday rush, and the lines and crowds were just as big as the ones on Friday.
7News cameras captured a line out the door and wrapped around the parking lot at the BrandSmart in Palmetto Bay, Thursday.
Shopper Leroy Johnson said he’s jumping at the chance for a new flat-screen. “I’ve been standing here for five hours,” he said.
When asked whether the chance to purchase the coveted product at a bargain price merits the wait, Johnson replied, “If it’s in, the wait is worth it. If the TV is not there – $88 for a 40-inch – then it’s not worth it.”
The massive discounts dragged thousands out after Thanksgiving dinner.
Santiago Burgos was served his holiday meal by Domino’s Pizza while he waited in line at the Dadeland Station Best Buy. “For now, this is gonna be our little lunch/dinner,” he said.
Planning is essential to Black Friday shopping, and it proved beneficial to shoppers like Gabriela Dean. “It’s really important because, if not, you miss everything,” said Dean.
Then there are people like Vanessa Fernandes, who said this year is the earliest she’s ever been out with her mom for Black Friday shopping. “We kind of wanted to come early, get the good deals early in the morning,” she said, “and we didn’t want to come yesterday because we still have a very traditional Thanksgiving.”
It was all about kids at the Toys R Us in Doral.
Yessenia Silva was among the first customers funneling through the door to grab what she could for 30 family members.
When asked if she knew what items she was going to buy, Silva replied, “No! I have no idea! I am just looking and looking and grabbing and putting.”
Toys R Us shoppers were able to find everything from Star Wars products to Coding Caterpillars.
The store’s manager, Susan Miller, said it’s hard to pin down this year’s must-have toy, but there are plenty of deals. “We have tons of electronic toys on sale,” she said. “The Classic PlayStation 4, the Xbox. The Nani Tablets are on sale for $39.99.”
Dadeland Mall will be open until 10 p.m. and then open at 8 a.m., Saturday.
Holiday hours for Sawgrass Mills Mall:
Friday, Nov. 25: 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
For a complete list of individual store hours you can head to www.blackfriday.com.
The National Retail Federation is expecting about 137 million people across the U.S. to do some form of shopping this weekend.
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