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Business brisk
Event kicks off holiday season
b friday for Dawson RGB JD
Shoppers walk by one of the store windows at the North Georgia Premium Outlets on Black Friday. The shopping center opened at midnight on Thursday. - photo by Jim Dean DCN regional staff

The parking lot at North Georgia Premium Outlets filled to capacity long before the doors opened for thousands of shoppers at midnight on Thanksgiving.


“We came for the deals,” said Linda Psam of Norcross, who loaded eight new handbags into her car before returning to shop.


While a few of Psam’s purchases were intended as holiday gifts, she admitted most of what she bought on “Black Friday” was for herself.


“Some for friends, some for family and some for me,” she said.


Tesia Wimby of Atlanta said she was also shopping for herself early Friday morning as she stood in line to enter one outlet. The wait was two hours.


“This line was so long we bypassed it the first time,” said Wimby, adding that she would wait as long as it took to get inside.


Heather Halpern, general manager at the outlet mall, said lines started forming in the early evening for the stores, which opened between 9 p.m. and midnight.


“When I came in at 7:30 p.m., there were already cars here with shoppers ... and they were mapping out where they were going to go shopping,” she said.


Halpern said the outlets have held the midnight shopping event for six years.


“And every year we see continuous increases,” she said. “We’re looking forward to a great holiday season.”


According to National Retail Federation, 212 million people shopped over the Black Friday weekend, up from 195 million in 2009. Total spending reached an estimated $45 billion nationwide.