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TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – The official start of the Christmas shopping season is underway.  Merchants across our region opened early for “Black Friday” customers.

For as long as she can remember, Linda Berryman has made the trip from Booneville to Tupelo to hit the stores the day after Thanksgiving.  In fact, Berryman, and the six others in her circle of friends wear matching shirts.

“It kind of keeps you from losing everybody,” Berryman said.

This serious shoppers club comes out early for good deals and fellowship.

“Bargains and then this is our day together. We kind of enjoy, just women’s time together. We brought our husbands one time and that broke them,” she said.

Some men braved the extended hours to help their wives.

How did she get you to come out here?

“She promised me I could eat, and she’s probably not going to cook today, so I like to eat,” said Antonio Hankins, of Nettleton.

“Good crowds. I would probably have expected a little more last night, or early morning, but it’s been a pretty good crowd today,” said Chris Daily, of Red Bay, Alabama.

By mid morning the crowds were picking back up. Black Friday is without a doubt the biggest day for foot traffic for retailers.  However, the biggest sales day of the season happens the Saturday before Christmas.

“Green Saturday, that’s where the money is.  That’s when the most sales actually occur, sales volume,” said Mall Manager Jeff Snyder.

Shay Avery reported steady business at her custom fashion shop, Queenin Queenin.

“These deals will continue through Christmas. I think a lot of people know that. We’re just putting in extra hours hoping that person who works all the time during the holidays will come out and shop,” Avery said.

Business owners are also hoping new commercial development around the mall area will attract even more customers.

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