Myrtle Beach area shoppers take advantage of ‘Black Friday’ on Thursday

Some worked off that pumpkin pie and extra helping of stuffing Thursday by shopping at a growing number of stores opening on Thanksgiving to jumpstart Black Friday sales.

Eager shoppers trickled into stores that are shifting Black Friday sales into a holiday typically reserved for turkey, food, family and other fun aiming to catch consumers’ stretched dollars.

Some retailers, including Bass Pro Shops, Kmart and Old Navy, opened between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. Thursday, followed by another wave of stores starting at 8 p.m. through midnight, including Target at 9 p.m. and Tanger Outlets at 10 p.m.. Most of the stores at Coastal Grand mall opened at midnight for the first time instead of the usual 5 a.m. opening.

Martha Mills from North Carolina, who has a house in Garden City Beach, rolled a packed shopping buggy to the register in Kmart at Inlet Square Mall about lunchtime Thursday, a crumpled sales flier among the purchases.

“We always look for the deals,” she said. “I found everything I was looking for.”

Some shoppers came armed with lists and items circled in advertising circulars, others just stumbled on the open stores as something to do in between the traditional Thanksgiving festivities. Some die-hard deal seekers even spent most of the holiday in line at stores such as Best Buy ensuring they could snag those Black Friday specials as soon as the doors opened.

And some vacationers who were separated from family took advantage of the shopping Thursday.

“If we were home, we wouldn’t be out,” Susan Logan of North Carolina said as she left Kmart at Inlet Square Mall with a few shopping bags about lunchtime Thursday.

Some don’t like the trend of Black Friday creeping into the holiday, saying it distracts from what is traditionally time with family.

“I feel bad for the people who have to work,” said Doris Black, who along with niece Diana Scroggins killed time in Kmart waiting for their movie time to see “Skyfall.” The pair already had finished up their holiday meal at Cracker Barrel

You could tell which stores were open Thanksgiving day by the clusters of cars in what seemed conspicuously empty parking lots.

Wal-Mart’s, of course, had a number of vehicles in its Grand Strand lots, but Bass Pro Shops at Myrtle Beach Mall and Hamrick’s at South Strand Commons had shoppers.

Two shoppers who were browsing Old Navy at Coastal Grand mall, Cindy Myers and Mandy Davis of Pilot Mountain, N.C., said they’ve been spending Thanksgiving along the Grand Strand for 20 years and shopping is one of the things on their list of to-dos.

“Anybody that’s got something on sale,” Myers said of the stores where they stop. “We hit them all.”

Deborah and Bob Kellum of Wilmington, N.C., said they left home before 7 a.m. Thursday so they could get their grandson a present he had asked for that was only available at Bass Pro Shops. Like others at Bass early Thursday morning, they said they’re not regular Black Friday shoppers. But the Kellums wanted The Strike Bundle when they go to Florida to see their grandson on Christmas.

Chris Baker, Bass Pro Shops’ general manager, said the store started its Thanksgiving weekend sale on Wednesday for the first time this year, and that there were about 250 people waiting outside the store when it opened at 9 a.m. Far fewer waited for the 8 a.m. opening Thursday.

Baker said fish finders, marked down $200, and rebated firearms were the big draw for many customers.

For Julie Booth of Myrtle Beach, it was the ladies’ thermal shirts and BB guns that she saw advertised that brought her through the doors. She had three of the shirts and two BB guns in her basket and she browsed through other items at the store.

Booth said she uses the BB guns to scare squirrels away from her home bird feeders and it’s always good to have a spare.

“The last BB gun I bought was $40,” she said.

The two in her basket were $10 each.

Bradley Blanton of Loris said he was in Bass Pro Shops just shopping after unsuccessfully trying to get a drastically-reduced television at a nearby Kmart.

“They only had 15,” he said.