TUPELO • By 7 a.m. on Friday, Cindi Morris and Jill Handey had been up more than 24 hours, but by then they had hit their second wind.

“We got up early yesterday, did the Thanksgiving thing with the family, then we got in line at J.C. Penney when they opened at 2 in the afternoon,” Morris said. “We haven’t stopped since.”

The duo got their Thanksgiving shopping started early, hitting stores that opened Thursday, including Best Buy, Kohl’s and Walmart, so by the time Black Friday officially rolled around, almost all of their buying was done.

“Almost,” Handey said. “Today is another day with more stores opening up. We’re ready. Tired but ready. Then we’re going to sleep for a couple days.”

At Greatest Hits Music & Books, owner Joe Haynes opened at 7 a.m Friday – two hours earlier than usual – as Black Friday coincided with Record Store Day.

“We’ve had a good day already,” Haynes said around 9:30 a.m. “We’ve seen probably quadruple what we usually see.”

And to keep the momentum going, Haynes is upping the customer discount throughout the weekend, starting with 15% off on Friday, 20% off Saturday and Sunday and 25% off on Monday.

It will be a frenzied shopping spree weekend, with Small Business Saturday, followed by Cyber Monday.

For retailers, Saturday has grown in importance since 2010, when American Express coined “Small Business Saturday.” Of the nearly 60% of U.S. consumers who reported knowing about Small Business Saturday, 80% say they plan to shop at independent retailers that day.

And according to the 2018 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, produced by American Express and National Federation of Independent Businesses, 104 million shoppers spent a record high of $17.8 billion last year on Small Business Saturday.

“We’ll be looking at the little shops and boutiques because a lot of times they have unique stuff you can’t find in something like a Walmart,” Handey said. “What we don’t get done Friday we might just have to come back tomorrow.”

At the Mall at Barnes Crossing, the shopping weekend got off to a good start, said general manager Jeff Snyder.

“We opened at 6 p.m on Thanksgiving, and we had a strong showing through 10 p.m., and it’s been good today,” he said. “That’s a good sign that it will carry over though what should be a very busy weekend.”

The mall reopened at 6 a.m. Friday, but individual stores set their own hours. Some – like J.C. Penney – opened on Thanksgiving.

Small Business Saturday will bring another wave of shoppers into not only the mall, but throughout the city, and Snyder said retailers of all sizes are doing all they can to keep the dollars in the community.

“Whether you’re a store downtown, a locally owned store inside the mall or even a bigger store in the mall, all retailers try their best to offer the service and products people want,” he said. “We want to have people from the region shop here – it’s a lot funner to shop at a store than to go to a keyboard.”

dennis.seid@journalinc.com

Twitter: @dennisseid

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