ALPENA - Holiday shoppers were out in full force Thursday night and Friday morning for Black Friday deals all over Alpena. Retailers from Art Van and Big Lots to Kmart and Tractor Supply had a variety of sales for shoppers who braved the cold weather before the sun came up Friday morning.
Debbie Nunneley and her family drove from Rogers City to cash in on Black Friday savings at Alpena retailers.
"This is a family event," Nunneley said. "My husband drives us around shopping all morning. We were surprised at how relaxed it was here for a Black Friday."
Nunneley started shopping with her six family members at around 6 a.m., and said her grandson, Dakota Nunneley, was the organizer of their shopping trip.
"He wouldn't let us go shopping the night before," she said. "He planned out the trip, tracked deals on his phone and got everything organized."
Nunneley and her family worked together to find deals and presents throughout the morning, and said she was happy about shopping on Black Friday.
"My buggie is full," she said. "It's fun to shop with the family."
Megan Brege and sister, Cassie Bruning, and said they found a lot of good deals early Friday morning, but one the of best was at Big Lots.
"The first 100 people in line got a scratch-off savings," Bruning said. "Megan and I both got $50 and my dad got $25. It was a great start to the morning!"
The group went to over 20 different stores around town including Dunham's, Tractor Supply, Home Depot, Art Van, Olivet Books, JC Penny, and Hallmark.
"We found some really good deals," Brege said.
Hunting for deals on Black Friday has turned into a holiday tradition for a number of families who brave the crowds and shopping cart traffic to find the perfect gifts.
Shopper Erin Kieliszewski was shopping early Friday with her daughters, Hailey and Emily, and their friend Molly Bordeau.
"We started at 5 a.m.," Kieliszewski said. "It's just fun to shop. We wanted to all get together and go."
The group of women had been to the Alpena Mall, Big Lots, Peebles, Neiman's Family Market, and had stopped at Walmart to see what other deals they could find by just walking around and were hoping to stumble upon more good deals.
"It's fun and its our own tradition to shop the day after Thanksgiving," Emily Kieliszewski said. "We like to look for great deals."
Lines were surprisingly minimal in the electronic's section of Walmart Friday morning, but the shoppers in them were all waiting for specific sale items.
"We've been waiting for a new phone," shopper Ginger Campbell said. "I was surprised when we got here because it's a lot quieter than I expected."
Campbell was shopping with her daughter and a friend, and said she likes the idea of sales on Thanksgiving night and on Black Friday because they break up the crowds.
"We're not hardcore Black Friday shoppers," Campbell's friend Jackie Williams said. "I actually didn't come here to shop and ended up doing good. I found some good deals."
Whether hunting for the perfect gift or the best savings, Black Friday has become, in a sense, its own holiday, catering to early bird shoppers and maximum savings hunters all over the country and helping families fulfill wish lists right here in Northeast Michigan.
Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.