The day after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday as it's often called, is the busiest shopping day of the year around the nation. The day marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. In Jacksonville, a number of large and small retailers are opening early for shoppers eager to take advantage of deals they may not be able to find elsewhere. Online retailers often hold Black Friday sales as well, for those not interested in dealing with crowds (more on that later.
Most of the stores will continue the sales and extended hours until Sunday (the day after the Jacksonville Thanksgiving Light Parade); however, the best deals will be had by the early birds.
Most of the retailers opening early on Black Friday in Jacksonville are large chains. If you're more interested in supporting local businesses, considering pledging for and participating in Small Business Saturday.
Jacksonville's major malls are all opening early. The Avenues Mall in the Southside area is opening at 4 a.m. and closing at 10 p.m. The mall features 1.1 million square feet of shopping space, and includes five major department stores.
The Orange Park Mall will also be opening at 4 a.m. and closing at 10 p.m. It features over 120 retailers, several department stores, and a movie theater.
The Regency Square Mall in Arlington opens at 6 a.m., while stores in the St. John's Town Center open at 8 a.m.
The St. Augustine Premium Outlets, as well as the Prime Outlets of St. Augustine, will be opening at midnight and closing at 10 p.m. for very early morning or late night shoppers.
Many standalone department stores are also participating.
All Walmart Supercenters in Jacksonville, open 24 hours daily, will begin selling many Black Friday specials at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving day. The rest will begin at midnight. Target will be open at 4 a.m. and close at 10 p.m.
Toys R Us will begin its Black Friday sale at 10 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. The stores will stay open until 11 p.m. the day after Thanksgiving.
Sears and hhgregg will open at 4 a.m. and close at 10 p.m. Dick's Sporting Goods and Academy Sports and Outdoors will both open at 5 a.m. and close at 10 p.m., as will Best Buy.
Belk and Bealls will open at 4 a.m. and close 10 p.m.
If you aren't an early bird, or if you simply don't feel like dealing with the massive crowds, consider doing some online Black Friday shopping. Online retailers like Amazon.com, BestBuy.com and Walmart.com will be offering many of the same Black Friday specials offered in store, as will the online divisions of most participating retailers.