Francis Allen and DeEtte Clay shared some old stories about previous years as veteran Black Friday shoppers. The two women stood in line outside of Target on Rivers Avenue in North Charleston on Thursday afternoon, about seven hours before the store opened.

“I got a TV at Kmart last year,” said Clay, of Charleston.

“I missed the TV I wanted at Kmart last year by 15 minutes,” said Allen, of North Charleston.

The two strangers strategized about their upcoming shopping blitz of the store.

Allen knew the exact number of televisions stocked inside that both women had on their list of potential purchases. “You’ll be good,” Allen told Clay about her chances of getting one of those 18 TV’s she said they had of that specific brand and model. Out in the parking lot, a family huddled in three separate cars trying to keep warm.

Edgar Aguilar Barrios, 15, said most of his family members met at Target Thursday morning to guarantee a good spot in line. The family of 12 said they planned on purchasing a TV and DVD player. They placed a few shopping carts to hold their place in line while they warmed up, but quickly returned to the line to ensure their spots. Target opened their doors at 8 p.m.

This year, more stores than ever opened for business Thanksgiving Day to draw holiday traffic.

But, the hours of frenzy in lines experienced in previous years was lacking a bit in the Lowcountry outside some stores on Thanksgiving Day. Outside the Toys R Us on Rivers Avenue, about two and half hours before opening its doors, no one stood in line. The barricades meant to control the crowds were empty. Only two cars sat in the parking lot with people inside their vehicles keeping warm while waiting for a line to form. One woman said she thought maybe people weren’t aware the store was opening earlier this year, at 5 p.m.

While some people welcome the extended hours and super-deals, others say retailers are taking away from the holiday’s purpose.

But for some of those who made the lines, missing Thanksgiving with their families is a sacrifice well worth it and for some its even becoming a tradition.

Clay said her family celebrated their Thanksgiving meal on Wednesday night just so she could make the line and shop.

The earlier openings and extra sales are critical to many stores, according to Britt Beemer, the founder and chairman of Summerville-based America’s Research Group. He said retailers are experiencing a lousy retail year and are doing whatever that can to keep their sales up.

Outside of the Best Buy in North Charleston both veteran and newbie Thanksgiving Day shoppers mingled in line. A few tents sat outside the entrance and one group of about six men, all strangers, chatted as they waited for the store to open at 6 p.m.

Two of the men had never ventured out on Thanksgiving or Black Friday to shop. “I can cross it off my bucket list,” said James Cast, who planned to buy a new cell phone.

Dickie Atkinson, of Eutawville, was planning on buying an iPad for his wife. “She told me last week that I was going to be here and stand in line,” he said.

Devon Hartzog, of North Charleston, arrived on Wednesday night and set up his tent. He said he hadn’t decided whether or not he may sell some of the items he purchases later on eBay. He’s done it before and tripled his money, he said.

The National Retail Federation estimates that 140 million people will shop this weekend, a slight decline from 147 million who planned to shop Black Friday sales last year.

Many Lowcountry stores will be offering specials early Friday morning along with the big box stores that didn’t open on Thanksgiving including Bed, Bath and Beyond.

So, if you didn’t make it out on Thanksgiving Day, but still have an itch for big sales, there’s still a chance to find some values on the original Black Friday.

Reach Natalie Caula Hauff at 937-5594 or