Deep discounts draw shoppers to Outlets on Thanksgiving

Jimmy LaRoue

Dawn Hodges was the second person in line outside The North Face at the Williamsburg Premium Outlets Thanksgiving evening, and she was there with a purpose.

Hodges, 47, who said she makes the Outlets a tradition, had her day planned — Thanksgiving dinner at 1 p.m., visited a friend and then make the 30-minute drive from her home in Hampton, get into The North Face line to get the outlet’s deals, and hit a few other stores before heading back home around 9:30 p.m..

She was one of about 100 people outside the store about 15 minutes before its 6 p.m. opening.

“We’re here every year because North Face has the best deals,” Hodges said. “Their pullovers that are $55, $65, $75, are $19.99. Their jackets are $24.99 that are normally $100. You can’t beat the deals here.”

Jaden Perez, 22, of Newport News, further back in The North Face line and wearing a The North Face sweatshirt, had a more simple purpose in coming out.

“I just wanted a sweater,” Perez said. “And my girlfriend actually works in there, so I dropped her off in there and I was just going to pick up a sweater. I wasn’t going to go out to shop, but since I was already here, I might as well.”

Many places advertised deep discounts on selected, or all, merchandise. The Reebok outlet had signs in its window advertising 50 percent off of the entire store, while the Papaya outlet also featured a 50 percent off sign.

Other stores had already opened its doors, while at Kate Spade New York, another 100-plus people were waiting to go inside in small groups, as the store featured 70 percent off discounts. The store had a queue set up on the sidewalk for those waiting outside.

Some stores, like the Nike outlet, were opening later. The popular apparel company’s doors opened at 8 p.m.

Other stores, such as Brighton Collectibles, were closed Thanksgiving. It planned to open Friday at 8 a.m. The Hanna Anderson outlet also stayed closed for the holiday and was opening at 6 a.m. Friday.

The Lane Bryant store, which did open with the majority of the other Williamsburg Premium Outlet stores, was closing at 12:30 a.m. and reopening at 6 a.m.

Parking lots in the Williamsburg Premium Outlets were mostly full when stores opened at 6 p.m., but plenty of parking was available in front of the Food Lion, which was not open.

Stores elsewhere were also open, or opening later in the evening.

The Walmart on East Rochambeau Drive opened at 6 p.m Thanksgiving, while the Target stores on Monticello Ave. and at the Marquis were both open from 6 p.m.Thursday until midnight and were reopening six hours later for Black Friday.

At the Marquis Shopping Center, the Best Buy opened at 5 p.m. Thursday and was staying open until 1 a.m. Friday, and then reopening later in the day at 8 a.m. Kohl’s opened at 5 p.m. Thursday and planned to stay open until midnight Saturday, and Dick’s Sporting Goods opened at 6 p.m. and stayed open until 2 a.m. Friday, then planned to reopen at 5 a.m.

On Richmond Road outside the Williamsburg Premium Outlets, James City County Police were directing traffic, and there was a visible police and security presence walking the sidewalks at the outlet mall.

A majority of stores at Williamsburg Premium Outlets were staying open from 6 p.m. Thanksgiving through 10 p.m. Friday, a span of 28 hours.

The first 500 Black Friday shoppers to visit the Management Office received a holiday-themed swag bag full of treats and discounts, including 20 bags which had a $20 gift card from select retailers.

For Hodges, she’s counting on a productive evening of shopping.

“I get pretty much more than half (of my shopping) done,” Hodges said. “This is the beginning, and I will be almost done after I leave this outlet mall today.”

LaRoue can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342, by email at or on Twitter @jlaroue.

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