GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Black Friday is still the King of shopping days, but Brown Thursday is taking the spotlight among shoppers.
On Thursday, fueled by turkey and all the trimmings, Coast shoppers took in a pre-show of retail savings from stores both big and small.
That pre-show had all the elements of a big party on Thursday from the big box stores to boutiques, especially at Gulfport Premium Outlets, where there was plenty of excitement and, yes, family time.
From the looks of the turnout, the retail industry in South Mississippi will do just fine. Nearly all the 70 stores at the outlet had good business, and for some, the lines continued even nearly an hour after the doors opened.
That's good news for Rhonda Roberts with the Gulfport Premium Outlets. She said retail sales are expected to go up about 4 percent nationally, and South Mississippi will likely follow suit.
"We're really predicting an increase in business," she said. "We've seen it this week. People are shopping earlier, getting the sales. And we really expect the holiday season to have a jump this year."
This was the first experience in the crowds on Thanksgiving Day for Katelyn Brown of Ocean Springs. She sees it as an extension of family time.
""We had a like our family stuff earlier and now everyone is like taking a nap, like digesting their food, we just like came out - this is my little sister - so we're still spending time together."
Many of those who work in the retail business and are dead-set against Thanksgiving as a shopping day. But being on the other side of the counter just may make a difference.
""I was here visiting my family and my niece over here has wanted a Michael's Kors watch for Christmas," said Pam Viator of New Orleans. "Now, I am in retail and a swear to God I would not shop on Thanksgiving Day. Where am I? Standing in line at Michael Kors just for this young lady."
And even those visiting family here on the Coast for the holidays are spending the night out. Emily Trombley of Alabama knew she could have waited until later.
"As long as I'm with my son, it'll be fun," Trombley said.