Black Friday ain’t what it used to be. For a few Havre businesses, this year was all about the Black Thursday deals.
In response to customers who enjoy the sales but don’t want to adjust their sleep schedules around them, Walmart and Kmart both started their deals at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.
At Walmart, the 8 p.m. sales were followed by other new deals at 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. today. Manager Jamie McDaniel said the customers still packed the store, despite concerns over Thursday’s unexpected flurries.
“We were a little worried about the weather yesterday morning and how it would affect it, but it worked out,” McDaniel said. “People are diehard shoppers.”
While toys and TVs dominated the sales like most years, McDaniel said the hottest item this year were Apple iPads.
Kmart also opened their sales at 8 p.m. Thursday, instead of the early Friday sales of the past few years.
Manager Robert Davis said that they too had heard from customers looking for deals at reasonable times. And hundreds of people came out Thursday to support the new policy.
“Customers were asking for it, so we responded,” Davis said.
Electronics and toys were also big sellers there.
At the Holiday Village Mall, Herberger’s opened at midnight, and Manager Gary Peterson said large crowds gathered outside all three of the store’s locked entrances. Some were waiting in the parking lot an hour in advance.
“They kind of did a little countdown so we could get all the doors open at the same time,” Peterson said. “Then we took cover.”
Linens and clothing deals joined the toys and electronics on people’s shopping lists at the department store.
Peterson said most of the deals are continuing into the weekend, and that his store will continue to open several hours early every Saturday with new deals until Christmas.