CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Black Friday is back but the early Friday morning crowds weren't quite the same as years past. Maybe that had something to do with some Lowcountry stores opening early Thursday evening.
Stores opened as early as 8 p.m. on Thursday leaving little momentum for the Friday morning rush. Belk at Towne Center manager, Lee Edwards, said they opened their doors at midnight, as opposed to 3 a.m. last year, because they had to keep up with the rest.
"It's like 'Keeping up with Jones' - we have to open early and earlier because the competition does," Edwards said.
Belk passed out hundreds of gift cards when they opened their doors at midnight and one lucky shopper got a $1,000 gift card surprise.
The hottest item this year for Belk was the $20 boots for sale. One shopper said when the doors opened there was a stampede of people to the boot aisles.
By 5 a.m. Friday morning, Belk was line free and had little crowds as tons of people got their Black Friday shopping done a little earlier than early.