PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Thousands of shoppers around the area flocked to local malls and stores to cash in on Black Friday deals.

Shoppers were lined up outside of the Monroeville Mall, which opened at 6 a.m.

“We’re pretty excited. We had people lined up outside right before 6 a.m. waiting for the doors to open. There were people lined up outside of Forever 21 and H&M. So, the crowd keeps building and we’re prepared for a long day of shopping,” Monroeville Mall Spokeswoman Stacey Keating said.

Mall officials and retailers have put in an extensive amount of planning to prepare for Black Friday.

“We work really closely with our retailers to make sure that they’re just ready to go and everybody’s excited, overcaffeinated too to make sure we’re settled in for a long day,” Keating said.

The Grove City Outlets opened at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving and will remain open until 10 p.m. Friday.

Lots of people are coming from out of state to cash in on the deals.

“You don’t get the holiday experience shopping online. I might look into Cyber Monday, but I’m not a really a big online shopper. I like coming out with my friends,” Kate Serna said.

“We’re really looking for deals on clothes because we came over from Ohio. So, there’s no sales tax on clothes here. We love the deals because things are 40 percent off, 50 percent off, some things are up to 60 percent off,” Pat Ameling said.

 

The Mall at Robinson opened its doors to shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

“Every year, this is where we come,” said shopper Melanie Boozer.

Black Friday crowds don’t stop her from taking advantage of the deals at the Mall at Robinson. She brings her two daughters and daughter-in-law along for the ride every year. But she says she needs to start slowing down.

“The older I get, the worse it’s getting,” she said.

But the hard-to-beat deals are what keeps bringing people out the day after Thanksgiving.

“You have anything from 40 to 60 to 70 percent off,” said Shema Krinsky with the Mall at Robinson.

Krinsky says Black Friday has lost its luster just a little bit as more stores open their doors the day before, on Thanksgiving.

“We used to have lines wrapped around the building just to get in when we opened the doors, and you would see a stampede,” she said. “It was quite fun and exciting.”

Some shoppers say stores should stay closed on Thanksgiving.

“I personally hate the whole ‘let’s do Black Friday on Thursday,’” said Brian Vandoren of Louisville, Kentucky. “It just doesn’t make sense, and it tears into Thanksgiving and messes with tradition and the meaning of everything.”

“It’s become like a commerce holiday, what America is turning it into,” said James Milosevich of Steubenville, Ohio.

This year, the mall is doing something different. The management team has been going around the mall, randomly rewarding customers with a shopping spree. One woman won $500 to spend at the mall.

It’s these types of surprises that keep Melanie Boozer going.

“Oh, we won’t get home until very late tonight,” she said.

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