"It was a wonderful day."
Phil Perlis, with The Big Store in Tifton, said Black Friday was anything but for his store. After closing on Thanksgiving Day to allow employees to spend time with their families, which Perlis said is a priority, he said the biggest shopping day of the year was a "good day to reconnect with people."
"It's the funnest day of the year for us. There are children that have grown up coming here and they came back to see us," he said. "A lot of people traveled a long way to shop with us here in Tifton. And we had a lot of local customers as well. People were in good spirits."
Perlis said the store's customers are loyal to shop there each holiday season, and he's hopeful this will be the case this year. But with six less shopping days this year – since Thanksgiving was a week later than usual – he expects a negative impact.
"I talked with our customers and other merchants throughout the region, and I feel like regionally, there will be less dollars spent. This year it will be about the thought put into the gift. People will think not about the dollars spent but the meaning," he said.
The Tifton Mall was a "madhouse," according to Vicki McKellar, mall manager.
"It was crazy, but it was very successful. We had lots of folks here," she said. "We were busy both days, but our most productive day was Thanksgiving Day."
McKellar said she hopes opening this year on Thanksgiving doesn't set a precedent for Tifton.
"I hope it won't be a regular thing," she said. "We were open 25 or 26 hours. It was very tiring. It took away from family time and it also took away the excitement of (Black) Friday."