Retailers, shoppers getting ready for Black Friday

Local retailers are getting ready for the start of another holiday season this weekend. Thousands of shoppers will hit the stores starting Thanksgiving afternoon and into Monday.

By Wednesday, three tents had popped up outside the Best Buy on North Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa, with shoppers hoping to be the first in line for door buster deals when the store begins its sale at 5 p.m. Thursday.

Bill Douglas, a self-proclaimed bargain hunter, decided to hit the stores ahead of the Black Friday crowds."Anything I may be able to use, at a good price, that's what I buy," said Douglas.

On Wednesday, he found bug spray marked down to half price at a Home Depot. He said he bought every bottle.

"Who needs 15 bug spray things? They'll probably go bad before I ever use them, but they were a deal," he said.

The same logic may explain why the National Retail Federation estimates 164 million Americans will shop for sales on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Stores of all sizes are getting ready.

"We're making sure that of course we have plenty of staff on board and we're completely prepared for our guests to come in and see exactly what we have to offer," said Robin Aiello, an employee at ZaZoo'd in Hyde Park Village.

This will be the first holiday season for eclectic shop that opened just last week.

For small businesses, attracting customers is less focused on advertising than chain stores. "We rely on our guests that come in, you know, word of mouth," said Aiello.

Some Tampa shoppers said they have grown accustomed to shopping from home. They will rely on online sales this season. "I like to spend more time with the family, and I don't like spending a lot of time at the stores," said Daniel Herraiz.

"If I don't get the crazy deals, it's not a big deal to me. It's about getting what you need for your friends and family and that's it," said shopper Sunny Ilyas.

Potentially 78 million Americans will shop online next Monday, according to the National Retail Federation.