Some stores staying open on Thanksgiving - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Some stores staying open on Thanksgiving

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Lights are off and doors are locked. Many stores around Eau Claire were closed Thursday. While most people will wait until tomorrow to start shopping, a few were out getting a head start.

"In the past we've done very, very well…which is why we've extended our hours actually," said Gander Mountain Manager Peter Baldus.

Most parking lots are empty on Thanksgiving, but that's not the case at Gander Mountain in Eau Claire.

"We've had a very high demand from customers. Hours in the past have been about 9 to 9. This year, we're doing 9 to midnight, then we open up again Black Friday at 6 in the morning."

For some, it's about beating the rush, while others are seeking last minute items.

"People get to come in and avoid the massive rush of Black Friday. But being an outdoors store, there's a lot of things in our store that people are able to come in and get for cooking outdoors for thanksgiving, such as smokers, fryers that are on sale right now. We also do have a lot of hunting people that are still coming in that are still hunting, picking up some things," Baldus said.

"I have some children that are coming that are going to go deer hunting. They're from out of town and needed a couple hats, so I thought we'd come out and do that. And then also when we're here we like to kind of look around, see what's on sale," said shopper Mark Brandt.

And of course, employees are needed to run the store, so special steps are taken.

"We offer employees a financial bonus to work on Thanksgiving. We also are very flexible with the schedules so they can be with their families. We basically let them pick the kind of shift they'd want to work, whether it's morning, mid, afternoon, or night. And then we basically go from there. People that close on Thanksgiving night will not open on Black Friday. So they get plenty of time to be with their families and get some rest before they come back in," Baldus said.

Besides Gander Mountain, there were a few grocery stores open Thursday as well. Festival Foods was one of a few grocery stores allowing people to do some last minute shopping. The store is open 24/7 during the holiday weekend.

"It's a typical Thanksgiving Day, we're going to see about 2,300 customers come in today and it's usually picking up their cool whip, their pies, wines and spirits. It really started to pick up around 9:30 today right after the Turkey Trot," said Festival Foods Assistant Store Director Joe Neville.

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