ST. MARYS — Six years ago, on an early Friday morning after Thanksgiving, Tawnie Montague, of St. Marys, began her Black Friday journey, an experience she claims was very fun and exciting.
Since then, she has been tag teaming with her husband, Derek, each Black Friday to score the biggest deals.
Before Black Friday each year, the Montagues prepare for the big day by spending their time going through newspapers looking for store ads and checking out the deals on BlackFriday.com.
“We just try to compare prices and see who has the best deals, and then we go from there,” she said. “Walmart usually has the best deals.”
She was one of 101.7 million people nationally who braved the crowds last year, according to the National Retail Federation, up from the 74 million in 2015. This year, experts with the NRF predict a 3.6 percent to 4 percent growth in holiday shopping. The NRF anticipated an estimated 164 million people, or 69 percent of Americans, will shop sometime over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Montague says that one the most important things to have before Black Friday shopping is a game plan. When she and her husband shop, they usually split up and stand in different areas in the store. They grab the things that they need, and then they meet back up.
Each year the Montagues make sure to stop by Walmart, Menards, and Kohls to get the biggest deals. The craziest experience she’s encountered so far was a fight that broke out at Walmart in Celina. She admits that shopping on Black Friday can be a challenge, but the end result is great.
“It’s chaotic, and I think a lot of people go for a rush of the craziness, but I think that with the deals it is totally worth it,” she said.
The best Black Friday deal that she has scored so far was at a Verizon store. After purchasing new phones, she received a $300 Walmart gift card.
“You get to use that card for your Black Friday shopping, and that works out perfectly,” she said. “It has pretty much paid for all of our toys when we go.”
This year, one of the biggest items that she has her eyes on are the hoverboards at Walmart.
“They have a really good deal, and my daughters have been begging for it, so I would like to get it for them,” she said.
The NRF noted jewelry stores saw 28.6 percent of their total sales coming from the holidays, followed by department stores and electronics stores last year.
Aside from all the great deals, she said one of the biggest challenges is the Black Friday shopping deals moving to Thanksgiving. She likes spending Thanksgiving with her family, so it prevents her from being able to devote as much time with them like she had before.
She wishes stores would stick to having deals on Black Friday. Another challenge she has is when she goes to shop at Walmart on Thanksgiving but has to wait until 6 a.m. on Black Friday to shop at Menards.
“If they kept it on Friday, it would be so much better,” she said. “I think they would have a better turnout because I do see that Walmart’s turnout isn’t as good as it is when its on Friday.”
Reach Camri Nelson at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @CamriNews