CHAMPAIGN, Ill., (WCIA) — Thanksgiving has come and gone and people are taking to the shops, getting ready for the holidays ahead.
Marketplace Mall in Champaign was packed throughout the day on Friday as people shopped for Black Friday deals. People lined up outside of stores all day waiting to buy for themselves, family, or friends.
Some people had a plan, others were just going with the flow.
One person was eyeing a deal on pajama pants, someone else was searching for jeans and new earrings. Whatever it was, everyone was happy to be out shopping.
Michelle Wallace said she went to the mall just to pick up a repair on a ring, but it soon turned into more when she found herself waiting in line at Old Navy for 25 minutes.
But, the crowds didn’t scare away any shoppers in Champaign. Houstis Haldorsen fully embraced the craziness.
“I’ve wanted to buy LEGOs for years now without feeling like a little kid again,” Haldorsen said. “I got that today for myself.”
But, he said he also stopped in Dick’s Sporting Goods and H&M for his sisters.
Haldorsen expected a large number of shoppers. He ran into people he knew, even living an hour away.
Morrie Mendenhall, the Marketplace Mall manager, said the crowds were consistent throughout the day. The mall started prepping months in advance.
“This is the big weekend,” Mendenhall said. “All hands on deck from our security team, our housekeeping team, our operations team. Everybody’s working.”
He said the stores started opening between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. Some people started lining up the night before, many camping out for shoes at the store Neighborhood Kicks.
Zach Guhl, one of the owners at Neighborhood Kicks, said people were waiting for their deals on donated shoes and clearance. He said his store was busy throughout the day.
“I would say people are really into Dunks right now. There’s just a big variety of colors,” Guhl said.
Khani Thomas, another shopper, said he didn’t have his eye on anything in particular, but is just ready to start celebrating Christmas.
“It’s time for everybody to come together,” Thomas said. “Share gifts with each other and celebrate God too.”
Wallace said she’s ready too, and just needs to finish up shopping.
“If I could be done by the second week in December and get it all wrapped and have a week to just bake and relax…that’s perfect,” Wallace said.
Mendenhall said he knows online shopping is a popular choice and it’s easy to stay at home and click on a website. But at the same time, he feels people are ready to get out, shop in person and be around big groups of people again.
Marketplace mall is open throughout the weekend, for a full list of hours, visit their website.