kicked off Black Friday in Gig Harbor with a midnight opening that drew hundreds of holiday shoppers into the store within the first hour.
The line of holiday shoppers started forming at about 5:30 p.m. on Thursday. By the time the big-box retailer opened up at 12 a.m., it had stretched beyond the parking lot onto the premises of just off Borgen Boulevard.
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Up to 152 million shoppers are expected to visit stores and websites during Black Friday Weekend, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). Last year, some 212 million shoppers spent about $45 billion over the four days, according the NRF.
"We've already had about double the people or even more than we had last year," Jesse McCarty, a logistics executive and interim store manager on duty at the Gig Harbor Target. He guessed the number was close to 1,000 by about 1 a.m., and employees were telling shoppers that the wait to check out at that point would be an hour.
What were people buying? Mostly the big ticket and most deeply discounted items. Alex Winter, a Washington State University student who was first in line to get into the store, was also the first to check out with a flat screen TV, a 46-inch one that took up most of the space in his basket.
"That's not for Christmas. That's for himself," said Whitney Young, his girlfriend.
Likewise, Lakebay resident Briana Tweten waited in line in electronics for a "before Christmas gift" for herself — a Nikon L-105 camera on sale for $99. Tweeten had already been holiday shopping for two hours at Wal-Mart, which opened its doors at 10 p.m.
"We're getting the big stuff first," she said. "Anything else that is regular price, I'll come back when it's not so busy."
Anyone who preferred a good night's sleep over late-night shopping at Target obviously haven't lost out on Black Friday deals. Most of the biggest retailers are across the Narrows. But Gig Harbor stores have their own Black Friday deals going on this weekend as well. Some stores in Gig Harbor, including Radio Shack and Office Depot, opened early today to accomodate a of opportunities to buy local before taking on the legions of Black Friday shoppers expected out today, there
Here is a sampling of what's going on locally:
- Radio Shack and are two Gig Harbor outlets opening early for Black Friday Weekend; Radio Shack at 5:30 a.m. and Office Depot at 6:00 a.m.
- at Uptown is offering 40 percent off your entire purchase from 8 a.m. to noon today.
- J. Jill is offering 50 percent off luxe sweater styles on Friday and 25 percent off of everything through Monday, Nov. 28.
- At , buy a $50 gift card and get $50 free, Friday through Monday.
- has a 50 percent off Black Friday sale from 9 a.m. to noon today, 40 percent off for the weekend through Monday.
- Don't forget Small Business Saturday is Nov. 26. American Express is offering a $25 credit to cardholders who support local businesses by "shopping small" on Saturday. Go here to register your card.
Woodinville Patch Editor Annie Archer contributed to this article.