Fox Valley stores readying for Thanksgiving and Black Friday shoppers
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The choice is yours. If you're ready to forgo the pumpkin pie and family bonding to get a jump on your shopping, there are plenty of places in the Fox Valley where you can start checking off your Christmas shopping list while it's still officially Thanksgiving.
But if you're more the traditional type, you'll also find area stores that won't be letting shoppers in until Black Friday -- even though in many cases that means they'll be opening right at the stroke of midnight.
With many national retailers opening earlier than ever -- like Toys R Us, which is opening all of its stores at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and Walmart and Best Buy, which are opening at 6 p.m. -- local malls and strip centers say they are ready for the shoppers that will filter over to them earlier, too.
"We expect Geneva Commons shoppers to start arriving at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving evening and we'll leave the parking lot lights on all night long for them," said Jonelle Kearney, public relations representative for Geneva Commons.
One store at Geneva Commons -- Dick's Sporting Goods -- will open at that 8 p.m. hour, Kearney said. The next to open will be the Gap at 9 p.m.
While many of the stores' opening hours have been changing leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday, including those that open at midnight such as Tilly's and American Eagle will open at midnight and others at almost every hour later, some, though, aren't in a hurry. For example, Wet Nose at the mall will open at its usual 10 a.m. on Friday.
Stores at Algonquin Commons will have similar hours this Black Friday and Thanksgiving.
However, shoppers who can't even get into their favorite stores yet at Algonquin Commons, are expected to start lining up barely after they've finished their pumpkin pie.
In the past, they've started lining up at midnight, and even before, for gift card giveaways at the mall. The line usually snakes down from the Guest Services area, all the way to Dick's for people looking for the gift cards.
The giveaways will begin at 5 a.m., when the mall will give out bags filled with coupons and a gift card to the first 1,000 customers.
Beginning at 6 a.m., they'll be handing coffee and hot chocolate to die-hard shoppers, which will be available until 9 a.m.
"I won't sleep after Thanksgiving and I'll be in line like I always am at Algonquin Commons," said Karen Nelson of Lake in the Hills. "It's tradition. The whole family heads out to get in line to shop a little and then has a big breakfast. It's fun.
"I get a few things, but it's just more fun and tradition than anything," she said.
The Huntley Outlet Center is officially closed on Thanksgiving.
However, as soon as Friday hits at midnight, some of the stores will open. Those stores are Aeropostale, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, BCBG Max Azria, Calvin Klein, Carter's, Cinnamonster, Corningware Corell and More, Eddie Bauer, G.H. Bass & Co. Gap, Guess, Osh Kosh B'Gosh, Reebok/Rockport, Tommy Hilfiger, Villa Pizza, and Wilson's Leather.
The rest of the stores are expected to open at 7 a.m., and the stores will remain open until 8 p.m.
Much of the action at Spring Hill Mall in West Dundee will begin at midnight on Black Friday.
However, some of the stores, including the anchors, will open at 8 p.m. Thursday.
Starting at midnight, the mall will be giving away 500 gift cards ranging from $10 to $500, and they'll be giving away 250 tote bags to the first people that use their gift cards.
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