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November 28. 2013 10:06PM

Shoppers line up as stores open on Thanksgiving


Lindsey Thibeault of Manchester, right, chats with her daughter, Gianna, as they wait to enter the Best Buy at the Mall of New Hampshire Thursday night. With them are Jean-Claude Deslauries, Manchester, who was second in line, and Gianna's friend, Cailee Spratt. (TIM BUCKLAND / Union Leader)

MANCHESTER — For Manchester's Lindsey Thibeault, her third Black Friday — which this year began in earnest on Thanksgiving — was the charm.

Thibeault was "finally" at the head of the line at Best Buy, having arrived at the store at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. She camped out overnight with her daughter, Gianna, 12, for the store's opening at 6 p.m. Thursday. In 2011 and 2012, Thibeault was second in line. But this year, she arrived at the chain's store at the Mall of New Hampshire and saw nobody else waiting.

"It felt terrific," said Thibeault, who was looking to pick up a new computer and tablets.

Best Buy was not alone in opening early. Toys R Us opened at 5 p.m. Thursday. Shoppers waiting outside shortly after 5 p.m. expressed surprise at how quickly they were able to get inside.

Shannon Aiken of Manchester said she arrived at the toy retailer at 5 p.m. after enjoying a Thanksgiving meal earlier. She was nearly at the front of the line, which snaked around the side of the store about 5:20 p.m.

"I've never done this before," she said of going out for Black Friday.

Two years ago and last year, only a handful of retailers, including Toys R Us and Walmart, opened before Friday. Three years ago, the earliest openings were at 4 a.m. on Black Friday, the name for the traditional first day of the Christmas shopping season.

Shortly before Best Buy opened, the store's general manager, Christopher Perfetti, led his employees in a cheering session before they welcomed the huge line of shoppers waiting outside. Best Buy's line also went around the side of its building.

"We're feeling great," Perfetti said.

Perfetti said the 60 or so employees at the store Thursday night all volunteered to be there.

"I didn't have to force anyone to work," he said.

The deals shoppers were hoping for varied, as Best Buy was offering "Door Buster" promotions on several types of televisions and electronic goods.

"It's really diverse this year," Perfetti said. "There isn't one thing that people are focused on trying to get."

Like Thibeault, Jean-Claude Deslauriers of Manchester, who was second in line, was hoping for a computer.

Meanwhile, Evan Clough, who was also near the front of the line, said he was buying a large, flat-screen television.

tbuckland@unionleader.com