Several national retailers with stores in Cherokee County will open on Thanksgiving instead of waiting until Friday morning.
Some businesses plan to open at midnight Friday, while some are holding out for a morning opening.
Best Buy in Canton Marketplace will open at midnight Friday. Store manager Scott Aaronsen said smartphones and tablets will be big sellers this Christmas season, beginning on Black Friday.
The sales won’t start until midnight, but store staff will hand out tickets for doorbusters beginning at 10 p.m. Thursday.
“That guarantees you a doorbuster item,” Aaronsen said. People lined up as early as Tuesday for last year’s sales, he added.
Black Friday deals at Best Buy include a 40-inch Toshiba television for $179.99. Aaronsen said the Wii U is expected to be this year’s biggest video-game seller.
“It’s going to be a big holiday season,” he said.
At Riverstone, Belk will also open at midnight Friday. Store manager Pam Price expects a long line waiting for the store to open, since the first 250 customers in the store receive a gift card. One gift card at each store is worth $1,000.
“They’re done in minutes. People lined up for hours last year,” she said.
As far as deals inside the store, Price expects boots to be a hot item.
“They’re $19.99. They fly out the door,” she said.
While Belk is offering some electronics and games during the holidays, Price said she expects clothing and home goods to be the store’s top items for Christmas.
Belk will offer gift wrapping on Black Friday.
Target and Walmart are among the national retailers with Cherokee County stores opening on Thanksgiving. Walmart’s Black Friday event begins at 8 p.m. Thursday. Additional deals begin at 10 p.m. that night and 5 a.m. Friday.
Target will offer deals starting at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving. The store will roll out additional deals at 4 a.m. Friday.
And hungry shoppers have to eat. IHOP at Canton Marketplace’s general manager Stella Clark said the staff is gearing up for a busy night. With stores opening all hours of the night, it’s hard to pinpoint what the busiest times will be.
“Last year, we got hit at 11 or 12, then it picked back up around 3:30 (a.m.),” she said.
Much like it is for retail shops, Clark said Black Friday kicks off a busy holiday season for IHOP.
“We wait for it all year,” she said.
Cherokee County resident Stacey Vyneman said she’ll be shopping in Cherokee County and in the Alpharetta area. She’s not sure yet if she’ll head out Thursday night or wait until Friday morning.
While she’s not looking for any big-ticket items, Vyneman said her shopping strategy involves looking at advertised sales and hitting the stores with the best deals early in the morning. This year, she’s not planning to stand in line for any of the big-ticket items being offered by retailers.
“I enjoy going just to go out and have fun. It’s a little more relaxing when you don’t have to fight a crowd and can just see what looks like a good deal and what bargains you can find,” she said.
Canton Police Chief Robert Merchant said extra officers will be on patrol in areas where traffic congestion and crowds are likely.