ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Crowds at the St. Augustine Premium Outlets Friday morning were almost nowhere in sight.
Employees credit the slow start to the day to the early opening on Thanksgiving.
"It gave them an opportunity to get what they wanted and go home and sleep if they wanted to," said outlet employee Alex Noonan.
This is the first time more than 40 stores opened at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving at the outlets. Shoppers, including Sarika Byawhare, took advantage of the early hours, filling the her van with bags.
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"Mostly clothing and kitchen stuff," said Byawhare.
But she was shocked at how quickly the crowds died down.
"It was pretty crowded. I mean, there was a huge crowd, a lot better than this one at this time, " said Byawhare.
Employees were concerned, too.
"I figured there would be a lot more customers today, especially this morning," said Noonan.
While Noonan hopes the sales turn out good from the early Thanksgiving opening, shopper Isaac Myers says he will continue to stick to tradition.
"I kind of think it takes the fun out of going in the morning or midnight. Like 8 p.m.; what's it going to be next year? Is it going to be earlier? I don't know," said Myers.
Outlet leaders say the sales this year will be the deciding factor in whether the outlets open again next year.