Several big retail chains stayed closed this Thanksgiving. So, many shoppers also stayed home. WINK News reporter Emma Heaton trekked across Lee County and didn’t see the same lines we typically see ahead of the Black Friday mad dash.
Four people were lined up on Thursday night at the Best Buy at Page Field on Cleveland Avenue in Fort Myers. But, generally, by 10 p.m., the lines are stretched across the sidewalk.
Many believe that times have changed, and now that people have the option to buy online, they avoid the crowds at all costs.
Southwest Florida went from long lines of people waiting to set foot in stores a few years ago to a ghost town just hours before Black Friday sales begin.
Ralph Causarano lives in Fort Myers. “Online sales has been… That’s what I do. I’d rather do that and go to the stores,” Causarano said.
Causarano admits that online shopping is simpler, and that’s why he believes people no longer wait outside the big box stores, like Target and Big Lots for Black Friday. “It’s just easier, and you get it delivered to the house, and you’ll have to worry about getting trampled on, haha,” said Causarano.
Natasha Kesoglou lives in Cape Coral. “Normally, it would be super long lines, and like I said, things have drastically changed,” Kesoglou said.
She blames the lack of liens on the pandemic. Kesoglou believes it’s been difficult for the world to get back to normal and wishes that would change. “It’s been extremely sad because, like I said, they took the life out of everything, and that needs to go away. We need to get a fresh start. Get back into our fun shopping,” she said.
While she knows this won’t happen overnight, she hopes, at the very least, the Black Friday rush will return. “In years past, Black Friday shopping has been amazing,” Kesolgou said.
The Best Buy at Page Field Commons opens at 5 a.m. on Friday. More people will likely show up overnight to get their hands on some great gifts.
Similarly, in Collier County, no one was caping outside of the Target in North Naples. Usually, lines begin to form on Thursday afternoon but not tonight.
This year, much like last year, Target isn’t opening until Black Friday. Many stores decided to stay closed on Thanksgiving night. This began during the pandemic.
Customers and employees liked the change in 2020, so major retailers, like Target, decided to stay closed.
Options are limited for those trying to save with the early, early-bird specials on Grey Thursday. But, this doesn’t mean people will miss out on this weekend’s holiday sales. A survey from The National Retail Federation suggests that we will see more holiday shoppers over this Thanksgiving weekend than last year.
More than 158 million people plan to hit stores this weekend. Target will open at 7 a.m. on Black Friday.