Canadians flock to Black Friday deals in Michigan
One of the state's biggest malls says Canadians occupy 85% of its hotel complex
It wasn't just Americans crashing through the doors of retailers south of the border on Black Friday. Hundreds — if not thousands — of Canadians did the same.
Melissa Morang, the marketing and sponsorship director at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in Auburn Hills, Mich., estimated that Canadians occupied 85 per cent of the hotel rooms on the mall's property.
She said Canadians were first in line when the huge mall opened at 9 p.m. Thursday. She said Canadians were also first inside a year ago when, as an experiment, the mall opened its doors at midnight.
"A significant amount of our business (Friday) has been from our Canadian friends," Morang told CBC News at 5 a.m. Friday.
Vim Mistry was one of them. She drove down from Burlington, Ont., and stayed with American family members who live about 30 minutes from the mall.
"Worth the drive? Absolutely. It has been for the last three years. The deals, they’re actually pretty good," she said. "It’s a complete zoo. It’s been a complete zoo since 12:30 a.m. when we got here."
Great Lakes Crossing was set to be open for 25 hours of shopping. Ontario licence plates could be found throughout the parking lot when CBC News arrived at 4 a.m.
Signs advertising as much as 90 per cent off some items dotted storefront windows throughout the mall.
Hundreds lined up outside a golf retailer waiting for it to open at a more normal business hour.
Phillips and friend Sarah Dupuis began their shopping excursion in the wee hours of the morning Friday.
"You get the door busters and get the deals right away. Then you get to go home and go to bed," Phillips said.
It was just the second time Dupuis has experienced the Black Friday rush. She had to be convinced by friends to give it a try in 2010.
"It's more exciting to do it this way. It's definitely fun," she said of holiday shopping.
This year, she was more prepared.
"I found that planning ahead a little bit this [year] benefited me," she said. "Having an idea of what you’re looking [for] helped."
With files from Steven Bull