The stores at Tanger Outlets in Locust Grove opened for the busiest shopping day of the year at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and stayed opened for 24 hours until 10 p.m. Friday.
“As a response to the growing annual demand, deals begin earlier every year and many stores start offering promotional sales earlier in the holiday week,” General Manager Holly Duffey said.
Despite specials that extended through the weekend, shopper and Henry County resident Trisha Hawkins said this year’s Black Friday was the busiest one she could remember.
“My family and I were on the interstate near the Locust Grove exit around 10 p.m. when the outlet stores opened and we were in traffic around the exit ramp for about an hour,” she said.
Hawkins said once she and her family made it to the outlets, they were surprised to see a completely full parking lot with people parking at nearby restaurants and gas stations to get to the stores.
“People were parking on the side of the road and in the grass near Tanger,” she said.
Locust Grove police assisted with traffic and security at the stores.
“We had to work with Henry County and the state Department of Transportation in an effort to make improvements to the traffic signals in the area to help traffic flow in and during peak times,” Duffey said.
Some of the most popular stores for Black Friday shoppers at Tanger this year were Nike, Reebok, Banana Republic and Old Navy.
“The stores had a big increase in outwear sales this year compared to last year due to colder winter temperatures,” Duffey said.
Although the stores were fully staffed to help control overwhelming lines of customers, some Black Friday shoppers had long wait times to check out.
“I noticed the lines were the longest at stores like Old Navy and Nautica because shoppers were wrapped around the aisles. I went shopping at Gap, though, and the check-out line was moving pretty quickly,” Hawkins said.
For the shopping center’s biggest sale and most popular shopping weekend of the year, the outlets were offering online coupons for consumers to plan ahead before they hit the stores.
The outlet’s website used a drop-down box where users could select their destination and then view specific Black Friday deals going on throughout the weekend.
Duffey also said shoppers could download an app for iPhone or Android devices in order to keep track of what deals retailers were offering.
At the Locust Grove location, many stores such as Brooks Brothers Factory Store and Carter’s Babies and Kids advertised 50 percent discounts on all merchandise.
Specials and extended hours will continue at Tanger Outlets throughout the holidays, including Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.