MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - It's been a gradual trend for years now: stores opening earlier and earlier to the point where people are taking time away from having Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday afternoon. That is why, according to the Marketing Director of Coastal Grand Mall, the mall is closed today.
"You know, we just really want to give Thanksgiving back to the families, to the shoppers, and the retail workers," said Tori Dean, Coastal Grand Marketing Director.
Some stores at the mall, however, had the ability to open early on Thanksgiving. These are known as "anchor stores," stores that have their own entrances and exits.
JC Penney is one of these. For JC Penney, opening before other stores is an opportunity to attract extra customers.
JC Penney "got ahead of the competition by opening three hours earlier than most retailers did" last year, according to Mary Hughey, the JC Penney General Manager. "So this year they just decided to keep it at 3:00. It was very successful for us last year."
The tug and pull of holiday shopping on Thanksgiving day has been going on for several years. Some see Thanksgiving as an opportunity to get ahead of competition while others are taking the day off. Still, others see Thanksgiving as a day to take time away from the daily grind and let it have its own time, an experience Dean describes as magic.
"Everyone appreciates time back home with family instead of having to work all the time," Dean said. "Every year it kind of crept up earlier and earlier. So finally it was kind of 'okay let's put our foot down and kind of bring back the magic and stay home for Thanksgiving.'"
The time between Thanksgiving and New Years is said to be the most wonderful time of year, at least we know Andy Williams thinks so. It also can be the most stressful time of the year - something Hughey has been preparing weeks for.
While it's nice to have the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with family, for Hughey, early Black Friday shopping is about making both customers and associates happy during the holidays.
"The success is just going to be watching the merchandise fly out the doors and hopefully smiling, happy, customers and associates," she said.
Coastal Grand Mall officially opened at 6:00 a.m. for Black Friday. The mall will have several promotions going on, including gifts for the first one thousand people to enter the mall, and a hashtag for social media.
If you use the hashtag "Make Black Friday yours," or #MakeBlackFridayYours you could be contacted my mall management to meet for an extra gift.