MANATEE -- Before 6 a.m. Thursday, a line of about 40 shoppers were prepared to file into Kmart on Manatee Avenue West.
Kmart and other retailers, including Big Lots and Walmart, offered Thanksgiving hours to accommodate residents who wanted to get a jump on Black Friday -- the day that’s considered the start of the Christmas shopping season and the busiest shopping day of the year.
“We’ve had a nice crowd,” Kmart store manager Jack Nicklaus said Thursday. “Customers like it when we’re open on Thanksgiving.”
Some traveled to get deals seen from last week’s sale circular. Others were just happy a major chain was open to get personal items.
“I’m going to my daughters,’ ” said Ina Connant, grasping a poinsettia with two grandsons in tow.
Glenn Hosburgh, manager of the Big Lots on Cortez Road, noticed a steady stream of customers in his store from Thursday morning well into the afternoon. Big Lots opened at 7 a.m. Normally, the retail chain opens at 9 a.m., he said.
“We’ve been busy. Some people were here for personal items. We had a sale on recliners,” he said. “Others were here for early Christmas shopping.”
Both store managers said hours might fluctuate for Friday and during the holiday season to give shoppers more time.
“We’ll have tons of good sales,” Nicklaus said. “Just review the ads when they come out in the Bradenton Herald.”
Hosburgh added, “Customers can look on biglots.com to see ads that are coming early.”