JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Black Friday is traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, across the country people are flocking to stores, hoping to cross items off their lists at a deep discount -- and maybe even pick up something special for themselves.
Lines started to form at 5:30 a.m. at the St. Johns Town Center. News4JAX crews saw lines at Bath & Body Works, Urban Outfitters and Aerie just to name a few.
St. Johns Town Center marketing director Ashlee Schneider suggested shoppers come into the complex through Big Island Drive because it’s the easiest entrance to navigate and there’s plenty of parking.
“Come here early. It’s going to get busy as we get through the day. We want to make sure that everyone can find a parking spot and get what they need,” Schneider said.
Schneider said that people also have the option of doing curbside pick up at some of the retail store locations if they don’t feel comfortable going into stores.
One new addition to the town center -- Levi’s -- opened on Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
Academy Sports and Outdoors opened its doors at 5 a.m. Tameka Singleton, who was shopping at the sporting goods store with her family, said this year’s Black Friday felt much different to last year when many COVID restrictions were in place.
“It’s good to be out and have some kind of normalcy, a little bit,” she said.
Last year due to COVID, a lot of people were ordering their purchases online then picking it up outside the store.
Manager Andrew Lovingood says that although some customers are still doing that this year, it feels great to see Black Friday customers actually shopping inside the store and looking more relaxed while they shop.
The St. Johns Town Center is also in the holiday spirit for Christmas with a Santa photo experience that goes until Dec. 24 and Christmas decorations set up around the Town Center for people to take photos.
It’s also expected to be one of the last Black Fridays for the St. Augustine Outlets, the indoor outlet mall east of I-95 off State Road 16. It’s being redeveloped, and people are taking advantage. A long line of cars could be seen Friday afternoon waiting in line to enter the outlet, which has been a ghost town of late.