SWEETWATER, FLA. (WSVN) - Stores across South Florida are already dealing with an influx of shoppers expected to take full advantage of the biggest shopping day of the year.
As the Thanksgiving holiday came to an end, the Black Friday madness kicked off. Shoppers flocked to Dolphin Mall in Sweetwater Thursday night to get an early start on all the best deals and steals.
“I get clothes for my kids, and you know, just a wonderful experience,” said shopper Shanell Mitchell.
Mall officials said they are ready for the holiday weekend onslaught.
“We anticipate probably an excess of a quarter million people to come through our doors this entire four-day weekend,” said Pete Marrero, Dolphin Mall’s general manager.
“The 50 percent off [discount], it’s a must,” said Mitchell. “You can’t get no better than that.”
The discounts attracted thousands from all over, including local, out-of-state and even international shoppers.
“We are from Argentina. We come for vacation and deals,” said one shopper.
Meanwhile, “Black Friday Sale” signs could be seen all over Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise.
“This is deal season right now,” said Sawgrass Mills Mall spokesperson Chris Valle. “You see offer on top of offer, the most aggressive deals. The best inventory is in the stores right now.”
“I bought gifts for my friends ’cause their birthday is next week,” said shopper Anika Dham.
“It’s always nice to get a half and a plus 20, a plus 25, so I get good deals like that,” said shopper Cynthia Miles.
The most devoted shoppers lined up outside of big retailers. Others strategized online before heading out.
“I look online for any coupons that I can find, any deals that I see,” said shopper Madelyn Streisfeld. “I get emails from different stores that I like, so I’ll use those coupons.”
7News cameras captured a long line snaking out of a Target in Pembroke Pines.
“We came for a [PlayStation 4], but now we’re going home with a TV, PS4 and some Beats, hopefully,” said one shopper.
Customers at a BrandsMart USA in Miami Gardens also took advantage of the holiday bargains, cashing out on deals for electronics.
“Got me a Ring [surveillance camera] for a good deal,” said shopper Manuel Pena. “I had to come because they had a special, so I had to come out real quick, right away.”
While some usually avoid the big crowds, others love the feeling of shopping with a large group.
“I love just the experience and just being excited about shopping one day with a lot of people,” said shopper Amanda Kopelman.
Like many, Kopelman goes pre-Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving.
“I think it’s great because I’m able to go shopping, but it also takes away from Thanksgiving,” she said. “It’s good for certain people.”
Back at Dolphin Mall, shoppers said the holiday weekend isn’t just shopping until you drop. It’s also about making the best decision with your wallet.
“Go to whoever has the most percentage off. Seventy percent is a must, and everything like that,” said Mitchell.
Black Friday gets its name from the fact that it’s the first day of the year where retailers start to turn a profit, going from the red to the black.
Participating in Black Friday? South Florida’s mall hours are below:
Thanksgiving: 10 a.m. – 1 a.m.
Black Friday: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Thanksgiving: 10 a.m. – 12 a.m.
Black Friday: 8 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Thanksgiving: 5 p.m. – 1 a.m.
Black Friday: 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Black Friday: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
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