SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - It's Black Friday, and that means that shoppers on the coast are out in force looking for the best deals on Christmas gifts.
Although the dynamics of the day have changed over the past few years, there were still big crowds waiting at doors when stores opened. Many large retailers are now opening on Thanksgiving Day, closing, then reopening later on Black Friday. Because of that, the huge throngs of people in years past are now dispersed over a greater amount of time.
On the morning of Black Friday, the sound of shopping carts scooting down the aisles was music to the ears of retailers.
Many shoppers have a traditional game plan in place, including Shawanda Dedeaux.
"Every year we do this. We wake up early in the morning and we start out and we have our little list in hand. We go to each store and we pick up what we're going to do, throw our list away and go to the next store," Dedeaux explained.
Some businesses like Backyard Burger are doing something that's never been done before, according to manager Christina Gossard.
"This morning, we opened at 6am. We're serving breakfast along with our entire menu, trying to help some of the Black Friday shoppers out there," she explained.
Small business owners are hoping that holiday spending will shine brightly, and offer something extra for customers.
Michelle Le manages V Boutique in Ocean Springs. "I definitely create a personal relationship with a lot of the local customers around town, so it's great to see familiar faces every now and then."
A lot of the Black Friday shoppers say they like the hustle and bustle of this day. They also like shopping for the great deals. For many, the most important thing they want out of the day is to spend time together with family.
That includes members of the Burn family. "We have a wonderful family and they're here visiting with us from Arkansas and we just love to spend the day together and to fellowship with one another," D'Shea Burn told WLOX News Now.
Some shoppers, including Lauren Julian, would put marathon runners to shame.
"Well, I've actually been out since midday on Wednesday. I've just been shopping ever since I got off of work on Thanksgiving," she said.
That's the kind of dedication retailers absolutely love.
Most economists expect Christmas spending to top one trillion dollars this year, up as much as 3.5% from last year.