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Businesses get a jump on Black Friday

A group customers line up advance sales Wal-Mart 8301 S. HollRd. Chicago Ill. Thursday November 22 2012. Several dozen had

A group of customers line up in advance of sales at Wal-Mart, 8301 S. Holland Rd., in Chicago, Ill. on Thursday, November 22, 2012. Several dozen had lined up before being allowed to enter the store shortly before 6pm. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 24, 2012 7:28AM



Black Friday kicks off today — or was it last night?

Most Chicagoans celebrated Thanksgiving by eating, spending time with family, eating, napping, eating, watching football game and then eating some more.

But some energetic consumers got a head start on their Black Friday shopping on Thursday — and certain retailers were more than happy to help.

At a Gander Mountain store in Joliet, Ill., a line of people was waiting to get in before the “door buster” deals began at 9 a.m. Thursday.

Barbara Godawa, 54, from Naperville, Ill., came out to get some deals. But the serious shopping for Godowa was to start later, she said: “We are going to gather around and have a traditional dinner,” she said. Then “we go through ads and pick our grab bag and get ready, and decide where we are going to go. ... We do it every year. It’s a tradition with me and my two sisters.”

Black Friday refers to retailers turning a profit or being “in the black” for the year, aided by sales on the day after Thanksgiving. It is one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

But in what’s being called “Gray Thursday,” some major retailers launched Black Friday on Thursday night, a move that some shoppers appreciated but which drew complaints and petitions from retail workers, their families and others who want Thanksgiving to remain a holiday.

A small but steady stream of customers took advantage of the chance to shop on Thanksgiving afternoon at Kmart in the Wicker Park area of Chicago, open all day Thursday.

Shantannel Crumb, 21, was among them, pushing a cart overloaded with bedding and Christmas gifts, including a giant pair of slippers with the words “I’m not fat, I’m big boned,” written across the front.

“I’ve got everything I need,” she said, declining to say who the slippers were for.

Tinley Park resident Gary Lemke, a 17-year veteran of Black Friday, arrived at a local Best Buy at 11 p.m. Wednesday, equipped with a tent he uses for ice fishing and gear including a portable generator and propane-fueled heater/stove combo. He was awaiting the store’s midnight opening with his son-in-law, Nick Ortberg.

“I haven’t had a Thanksgiving meal in years,” Lemke said. “I’ve got a backpack full of MRE’s (meals ready to eat).”



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