MARQUETTE - A multitude of area residents were out late Thursday night and early this morning to take advantage of the local Black Friday sales, despite the Thanksgiving holiday and long lines in front of some of the stores.
"We drove past at 2 and we saw a line, so we realized we had to get here," said David Tousignant of Ishpeming, who waited in line at Best Buy from 3 p.m. until the store opened at midnight. "It's gone by oddly quick. That's not sarcasm. You expect it to be the most brutally boring thing of your life."
Other stores saw people lining up hours in advance, as well.
Best Buy deals on televisions were popular. (Journal photo by Zach Jay)
"(As) kind of a rough estimate, last year there were about, I would think, 600 or so people waiting outside," said Brett Coleman, the store manager at Kohl's, which also opened at midnight on Friday. "This year when I pulled into the parking lot ... there were probably 50 cars already in the parking lot ... the line is pretty close to the end of the building."
The turnout at Kohl's may have been down slightly from last year, according to Coleman, because of other nearby stores opening earlier in the evening.
"This is our second year (opening) at midnight. Two years ago, I believe it was 4 a.m. and maybe the year before that it was 6 a.m., so it's getting progressively earlier each year," said Coleman. "Some of our competitors have chosen to open at 9 and 8 o'clock, but we'll see how that plays out."
"There's no way to know (how many people will come)," said James Hein, a Best Buy employee. "(But) the line is around the building."
Best Buy, which opened at midnight for the second year in a row, implemented a ticket system to handle the high volume of shoppers. Before the store opened, employees handed out tickets for sale items to customers in the line outside.
"They give you a ticket for whatever you want," said Tousignant, "so then I'm guaranteed to get it, provided I turn it in by 3 a.m."
For many shoppers, the long lines and long waits are well worth the bargains.
"I came for the Mercedes (toy car) for my son, and for the $100 camera," said Rachel Shellum of Ishpeming, who waited in line outside Target for about a half-hour. "And I got all 'The Office' seasons, too, for $8 ... so you can't beat that."
Zach Jay can be reached at 906-228-2500.