Despite a rainy, chilly morning this Black Friday, customers still came out in droves to shop deals and support local businesses.
Marcie Ruiz, manager of Once Upon a Child in Bristol, a children's clothing store said that Black Friday has been going well this year.
"Lots of people have been doing their clothes shopping," she said. "The holiday apparel is really popular right now - things like the Christmas pajamas and the 'ugly sweaters."
For Dave Allaire, owner of Hubbard Florist in Bristol, he said that Black Friday marks a transition from the busy Thanksgiving season to the equally busy Christmas season.
"We were pretty steady leading up to Thanksgiving; a lot of people were buying Thanksgiving centerpieces," he said. "Today starts off our Christmas season and while we don't do wreaths anymore, we offer cemetery boxes and Christmas arrangements. We use a lot of fresh Christmas greens and flowers combined with Christmas decor.”
At Wojtusik’s Nursery & Garden Center in Bristol, there was steady crowd coming in to get their wreaths and trees.
"We've got a lot of people - all of our staff are on-board and everybody is busy," Cynthia Shug said. "We've got three people making wreaths and getting them on the wall and we've got our boys loading trees into cars.”
Over at the Bristol Walmart there was a steady flow of customers emerging with bag-laden shopping carts. A volunteer with The Salvation Army stood by the entrance ringing a bell for their Red Kettle Campaign. On their way in and out, people stopped to hand him donations and he seemed to have a nearly full kettle as of around 11 a.m.
Derrel Thomas said that he had found a good deal on a new, flat screen TV this black Friday.
"I figured now was the best time to pick it up," he said. "It'll make a nice gift for the grandparents - let them pause and record and all that. I'll probably have to show them how to use it though."
Ashley Simmons saw Black Friday as a good opportunity to do some clothes shopping for her elementary-age kids. Her cart was also filled with wrapping paper for Christmas presents.
"The kids could use some new outfits so I decided to get a head start on my holiday shopping this year," she said.
Mary Nowak was on the lookout for some classic Christmas movies. She was happy to have found a "Peanuts" Holiday Collection DVD, which she looks forward to sharing with the family on other holidays as well.
"I wanted something nice to put on for when the grandkids come by," she said.
Gary Davis was picking up Christmas lights and other decorations for the house.
"It's a bit of a pain putting them up - and today is obviously out for that, but we like to give people something nice to see when they drive by at night," he said.
Adam Edelman picked up a Nintendo Switch and a couple games to go with it including "Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl."
"They put SpongeBob and Danny Phantom into a fighting game," he said. "When I heard that I had to have it - it's like my childhood."
In New Britain, downtown was relatively quiet but there was a lot of rustle and bustle on the Berlin Turnpike.
“This was my first store of the day, and it went pretty good,” said Marlene Lopez, from Newington who was shopping at Walmart. “I was expecting a bigger crowd, but it wasn’t busy like other times it was way better.”
Marlene came in with a plan to get stocking stuffers, Tupperware and little miscellaneous items.
“I don’t Black Friday shop, I online shop,” she added. “I just had the day off today so I thought let me go get some miscellaneous stuff for the kids because I knew Walmart would have it.”
Jessica King, another shopper at Walmart said that everything was perfect.
“There were no fights or anything,” she expressed. “Everything I wanted they had, and they had a nice inventory this year.”
Jessica says she does a mix of in-store and online shopping.
“I did online this morning and then came to the store and did what I needed to do,” she added.
Though the parking lots were packed at places like Walmart and Best Buy in Newington, and Target in New Britain customers were coming and going with ease and many of them said it wasn’t too bad.
“It was very quick. I was in and out in maybe 5 minutes,” said Zeus Opalach, from Waterbury, who was shopping at Best Buy. “I needed a new 4K TV for my XBOX series X.”
Opalach shared that he does both in-store and online shopping and shopping this year was pretty good he got everything he wanted.
“Everything was good. They helped me really fast,” said London, who just moved to Connecticut from New York and was shopping at Target.
Brenden Constantine, a Best Buy shopper from Glastonbury said everything was fine even though they had to wait a little bit for service, “but it was a little busy, so it was understandable.”
He ended up purchasing a TV.
“I guess I’m more of an in-store shopper because I get to see it in person and get to see what I’m getting,” he expressed. “I came for a tv I wasn’t sure if I was going to get it or not and just made a decision.”
Tracy Duquette, from New Britain, who was shopping at Walmart, said she didn’t have a plan when she headed out.
“They had really good deals. We got enough stuff that we’re filling up the trunk,” said Duquette.
Brad Harris, co-owner of Cut From a Different Cloth in New Britain said they saw a lot of people come in.
“Today has been a good day at the store a lot of people came in we did a special limited hoodie release and it is almost sold out we are grateful to be part of such a supportive community we are closing early today at 5:30 so we can do some Black Friday shopping for the ones we love as well thank you for allowing my insight,” said Harris.