DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) - Friday was the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and shoppers spent the day filling their carts with deeply discounted electronics, clothes, home goods and more.
Some consumer experts were forecasting relatively light crowds this year due to the increasing popularity of online shopping. But Casey Smith of Sullivan, who spent all day shopping in Springfield and Decatur, told WAND it was just as busy this year as in was in past years.
"It's been pleasant," Smith said. "Everybody has been really helpful and all the customers have been really nice. I didn't see any fights or anything ... I think it's just fun to see everybody get out and go all these places and see how many people are out."
The National Retail Federation expects 165 million Americans to shop either in stores or online from Black Friday through the weekend. But it isn't just retail stores that are busy - many thrift stores see a spike in business as well.
Carol Wilkins, store consultant for the Salvation Army of Decatur, told WAND-TV the family store always gets a sales bump on Black Friday.
"We're very happy and pleased that we do," Wilkins said. "We also try to put an increase of product in the store because we know we're going to have so many customers."
She said the store began today with more staff, more inventory and massive deals.
"We had 50 percent off of all clothing and accessories for Black Friday," Wilkins said. "We do have extra help for the day, of course, because we know we're going to be so busy. We just really work at pushing our product out, so it's all ready to go the moment we open the doors."
She said the store isn't just busier on the sales end, but it was also a busy day for donations.
"We do have a larger increase of donations, because people are out buying," she said. "They want to clean out ... and they get rid of all what they don't want, and then the other thing is, the people in this community are so generous to the Salvation Army, and they know that people are in need."
Wilkins said in the end, Black Friday is exciting for them.
"I think we're all excited about it," she said. "It can be stressful too, but we're excited ... near the end of the day, it's more fun."
Wilkins also said the Salvation Army of Decatur wants to carry over the Black Friday excitement into the weekend, so it's offering deals on Saturday as well.