PLEASANT PRAIRIE — The parking lots were filled and lines were forming as thousands of shoppers braved a chilly, misty morning Friday to begin their holiday shopping at Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets.
While online shopping continues to take its toll on brick-and-mortar retail stores, the stores at Premium Outlets, 11211 120th Ave., were fully alive and thriving Friday.
For many shoppers, heading to the mall on Black Friday is a tradition, an experience they look forward to each year. For others, the lure of bargains and deep discounts was too much to miss.
“Shopping is a social experience. It’s an outing,” said Jason Abramczyk, the mall’s area director of marketing and business development.
Ben Sandler of Vernon Hills, Ill., said he arrived at 8 a.m. to find merchandise in the Tommy Hilfiger store.
Rachel Ruiz and her sister-in-law, Yanet Abundas of Waukegan, Ill., said they arrived at 7 a.m., and one of their first stops was The Gap.
The frenzy actually began at 5 p.m. Thanksgiving night, as stores opened their doors for a seven-hour, pre-Black Friday event.
Some shoppers checked into local hotels and were planning a holiday weekend around the traditional start to the Christmas shopping season.
Area general manager Tera Greenland said she overheard one couple say they had originally planned to shop at a mall in Illinois, but instead came to Pleasant Prairie and checked into the Fairfield Inns & Suites Hotel because they thought it would be a better experience.
The mall boasts more than 90 outlet stores, including some of the nation’s most noted retailers such as Old Navy, Coach, Pandora, LaCoste and Jockey, along with a number of specialty shops.
Despite the crowds, shoppers seemed orderly and courteous. Some of the merchants had shoppers line up outside their stores for an orderly entrance and to keep the stores from becoming overcrowded.