SIERRA VISTA — Thanksgiving is a day for family and friends. In recent years, though, the day has turned into an early springboard for Black Friday, as big box stores like Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and others opened Thursday evening, which some argue takes away from spending time with friends and family.
Many of those who braved the high winds and spent Thanksgiving afternoon and evening waiting in lines and shopping for the “unbeatable” deals weren’t sacrificing time with loved ones, but were carrying on a tradition, even if they’ve had to adapt it to infringe on the Thanksgiving holiday. Sylvia Lopez-Holt was the first in line at Target Thursday afternoon, waiting for the store’s doors to open at 5 p.m., and was joined by her daughter and son-in-law, who drove to Sierra Vista from Phoenix for the holiday.
“We come down for family, but also for shopping,” Lopez-Holt’s son-in-law William Demery said. “Sylvia enjoys the low-level competition of retail.”
Lopez-Holt said Black Friday shopping has been a tradition of hers for 25 years and it’s something she has convinced her husband, Byron Holt, to join in on, and Demery had to learn in order to prove himself to his wife’s family.
“It’s thrilling,” she said while sitting her pink lawn chair. “I love it and I love getting great deals.”
This year, Lopez-Holt took her place outside of the Target doors at 2:45 p.m. after being at work since roughly 4 a.m. Her mission, along with her family, was to buy car seats for her daughter and stock up on toys for the holidays. After Target, the crew was heading to Best Buy, Wal-Mart and a long list of other local stores to take advantage of the sales.
“I won’t sleep until Saturday, probably,” Lopez-Holt said with a laugh.
Unlike Lopez-Holt, some of Thursday’s shoppers were hitting just one store and crossing everything off their lists. Chelsea Smith, who sat in line outside Target with her family and kids, said this year the group of seven was on a mission for electronics, clothes and toys because the deals were unresistable. The group had nine people in front of them after arriving at 3 p.m., which they agreed was the furthest up they’ve been in their family’s five-year tradition.
“It’s a fun time with the family,” said Sarah Pena, a relative of Smith.
Theo Izzo and his son stood outside of Best Buy for over an hour to continue their seven-year tradition.
“It’s always the same thing, whether it’s for computers, televisions or gaming,” Izzo said. “We come to Best Buy each year.”
This year, the duo were on a mission for a 55-inch flat screen television, which Izzo said he needed since he’s been without one in his room for over a year. The savings of over $400 was more than enough of a reason for him to weather the high, gusting winds. Televisions were a hot-ticket item, once again, as carts left Target and Best Buy with boxes and shelves quickly clearing.
While shoppers waited in line for big-screen TVs, Rhonda Reinartz and her son Kenny made quick work of their Black Friday shopping. The family stayed warm in the truck and when the doors opened, they joined the line and were one of their first to leave with Kenny’s new sound bar in hand.
“The line wrapped around the building,” Rhonda said. “We waited in the truck and ran right in when the doors opened.”
Despite the large numbers of eager shoppers at the different stores, Sierra Vista Police Cpl. Nick Lamay said there hadn’t been any incidents resulting in arrests as of 7:40 p.m.
Lamay hinted the lack of incidents could be related to an increased police presence.
“In general, people are stressed, so tempers flare ... We have officers at all the major stores,” he said.
Both Best Buy and Target were scheduled to close at 1 a.m. Friday morning. Best Buy reopens their doors Friday at 8 a.m. and Target does the same at 7 a.m.