By DON O'BRIEN
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Kimm Minnick, property manager at the Quincy Mall, isn't surprised at all to see that Black Friday has spilled into Thanksgiving.
"It was inevitable," Minnick said. "The trend is just going this way. Once someone starts the trend, others tend to follow along."
As a result, shoppers can gobble up their turkey and walk it all off with the various Black Friday sales, which are starting earlier than ever before. Gone are the days of waking up in the wee hours of the morning on Friday to grab the best deals right before dawn. Instead, shoppers can head out the door Thursday night, after they're done with their tryptophan-induced naps that afternoon.
Wal-Mart, Kmart and Sears are among the early starters, all with specials starting at 8 p.m. Thursday.
For the Quincy Kmart, Thanksgiving 2012 will be one like the store has never seen before. The store is one of the few in town that is open on Thanksgiving. Store manager Doug Sullivan said the store will open for its regular hours from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., when it will close to get ready for the first wave of Black Friday deals. The store will reopen at 8 p.m. and stay open until 3 a.m. The store will close again and then reopen at 5 a.m. for yet another round of Black Friday deals.
"It's a lot of work for each sale," said Sullivan, who has been with Kmart for 34 years and the Quincy store manager for the last six years.
Wal-Mart also will stagger its sales. The sales giant will have specials at 8 and 10 p.m. Thursday. The early sale is toy-heavy, while the 10 p.m. offerings are heavy on electronics like tablets, TVs and DVD players. The store will also have a more traditional sale round starting at 5 a.m. Friday.
Sears will be the first store in the Quincy Mall to get a jump on Black Friday with an 8 p.m. Thursday opening. It will also have a second sale starting at 4 a.m. Friday.
After experimenting with a midnight opening last year, the Quincy Mall has made it mandatory for all of its retail stores to be open at midnight. Minnick said only the anchor stores at the mall can set their own hours. Bergner's is going to join the rest of the mall businesses with a midnight opening, while J.C. Penney will open at 6 a.m. Friday.
Minnick said she has heard a little bit of grumbling about the mandatory midnight opening, but most seem to welcome the chance to open their doors to shoppers hungry for bargains.
"The stores that were open (last year at midnight) were happy with what they did and saw an increase (in sales)," Minnick said. "The stories that didn't open thought they missed an opportunity."
The Broadway corridor in Quincy figures to be as busy during the overnight hours on Thursday night/Friday morning as it is on a sunny Saturday afternoon. As a result, other businesses will be open to serve those shoppers. The McDonald's at 32nd and Broadway will open at 1 a.m. Starbucks, 3115 Broadway, will open at 9 p.m. Thursday and be open overnight for those who need some coffee to get them through the sales rush.
Some shops at Prairie Crossing at the east edge of Quincy will also get into the Black Friday fun. Best Buy, Kohl's and Old Navy will have midnight openings. MC Sports will open at 5 a.m. Friday.
According to the National Retail Federation, about 147 million people are expected to fight the crowds for Black Friday deals. Last year, 226 million shoppers hit the stories during Thanksgiving weekend and spent just shy of $400 each, according to the federation.
The time Kmart puts in to prepare for Black Friday is more than worth it, Sullivan said.
"The name can tell you," he said of Black Friday. "It's very big. I can't give you figures or anything, but it's tremendous."
And local retailers are expecting a tremendous response again this year.
"I didn't realize there was that many people in Quincy," Minnick said when describing last year's Black Friday crowd at the mall.