Thousands of Georgians wrapped up their Thanksgiving meal and then hit the stores as Black Friday bled into Thursday evening this year. Shoppers lined up well before 6 p.m. Thursday at the Mount Berry Square Mall in Rome for deals on footwear, more than two hours before retailers opened their doors.
After three days of cold, wet weather, Georgians can look forward to sunny and slightly warmer conditions throughout Thanksgiving and the weekend. “It will do nothing but improve from now to then,” said National Weather Service meteorologist George Wetzel on Wednesday afternoon. Wetzel says the winds will start dying down on Wednesday night, leading to cooler temperatures on Thursday morning. Despite a morning temperature drop into the lower 20s, Thursday afternoon will be sunny and clear, with a high near 52 degrees. That’s good news for last-minute travelers.
Black Friday’s morning rush was busy but largely uneventful in Georgia. The parking lots at Georgia’s largest mall, the Mall of Georgia in Buford, were packed by 3 a.m. Meanwhile, some small businesses are hoping shoppers save money to spend at their stores on what is being called Small Business Saturday.
Large scale department stores aren’t the only retailers benefiting from the black Friday rush. Small boutiques across the state are also seeing more customers although with mixed results. Many are window shopping, but some are spending money in local stores.
The traditional Black Friday holiday shopping rush is off-and-running in many parts of the state. Many department stores and so-called “big box” retailers already have their doors open to shoppers, with some unlocking their doors at 4 a.m.
National reports show, this year's Black Friday could usher in a holiday shopping season slightly improved from last year. Whether Georgia businesses see an uptick in sales, though, will depend on customers. Across the state, several "buy local" campaigns are urging residents to buy their gifts from local businesses to triple the economic impact.