Although the day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday, many stores opened on Thanksgiving evening to offer preludes of special holiday deals to mark the 'official' Christmas holiday shopping.

But hundreds still ventured out on Friday, hoping to take advantage of discounted items ranging from household goods, toys, clothing, electronics and other items.

Parking lots at local shopping centers were filled with cars, causing some shoppers to drive around several rows before finding a spot. Stores had a steady flow of people entering and exiting their businesses, while shoppers sought bargains at various spots in London.

The recent opening of Marshalls brought Kenzie Page and Melinda Clem from Clay County to check out the new store.

"We haven't been over here so we thought we'd come and look," Clem said.

The two were not particularly seeking bargains for Christmas gifts - in fact Page said she was "clueless" on ideas for the traditional giving season.

Amy Hibbard of London was accompanied by her husband and son during their Friday shopping venture but were not finding the deals they had hoped for.

"I'm looking for toys and just not having any luck," she said. "We've been to Walmart and Marshalls, now we're going to Kohl's."

Jean and Tammy Brock, however, struck gold in their shopping ventures. Jean said she had braved the crowds on Thursday and returned to Walmart on Friday.

"I came in and looked last night and came back today," she said. "I was looking at the air fry oven that was on sale for $67. I just thought if it was here, that's okay and if it wasn't, that is okay too."

But her buggy was loaded with items that marked the official start of the merchandising Christmas shopping season - deals that will make Christmas special for her family.

"I found this for $10 and another toy for $15," she said, pointing excitedly at her loaded cart. "I got these for my great grandson."

Kitchen gadgets and appliances were popular for many shoppers, among them being Linda Walden and Beverly and David Disney of London.

Walden came looking for deals on kitchen appliances - and was successful.

"I came looking for a skillet and deals on crock pots," she said as she pushed her buggy amidst the cars and people migrating into Walmart on Friday afternoon.

The Disneys, on the other hand, found some deals they hadn't anticipated. Their buggy was loaded with gifts for family - including several Pioneer Woman kitchen gadget sets.

"This is a gift for my daughter-in-law," she said.

With an increased economy, Black Friday was predicted to generate over $7.4 billion in sales, although many chose to shop online and avoid the crowds. According to Adobe Analytics on CNBC.com, 165 million people were expected to partake in Black Friday shopping with an estimated $4.2 billion sales on Thanksgiving Day and $7.4 billion on Black Friday.

njohnson@sentinel-echo.com

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