MARSHALL - The piercing cold weather that moved into the area by Thursday evening did nothing to slow down the early opening some businesses had for Black Friday sales. Customers largely seemed to be going for electronics and tools in particular.
K-Mart had a line stretching down the sidewalk by 7 p.m. on Thursday.
"I'm here to get a TV and see what else is in there," said Tyler Derickson from Lamberton.
The parking lot at Wal-Mart was likewise packed Thursday night, forcing customers to walk long distances through the cold to get inside.
Carl and Patty Allen came all the way from New Ulm. Carl Allen came to shop for electronics, an iPad, and do some shopping for the Christmas party for the National Guard Armory where he works.
"Same thing," Patty Allen said, "and I'm here to help him pick up some things for the boys at the armory,"
Marshall resident Mary Swanson came with friends and family.
"I'm searching for a Barbie Dream House for my daughter," Swanson said. "I figure for 20 bucks it's worth standing in line."
On Friday morning the stores that didn't jump the gun opened. Business was brisk for some, particularly in electronics and hard goods, and slow for others such as shoes and clothing.
Borch's Sporting Goods was moderately busy by early morning.
"I'm looking for bargains for my wife and children," said Brad Runia of Balaton. "Just good deals. I didn't come in here with anything specific in mind."
Down the street, Radio Shack was pretty busy as well. Danelle Taveirne came from Garvin to get a pair of headphones and left with more than she intended.
"I got an upgrade on my phones, some lights, a home music system, cases, batteries and DVDs," Taveirne said. "I'm going to transfer my VHS tapes to DVD."
Running's opened at 5 a.m. to brisk business that stayed steady for the first part of the day. Some think the sudden cold may have had something to do with it.
"There were 50 or 60 cars in the parking lot when I came in at a quarter to five," said Jon Harback, who works in sporting goods. "They're buying everything in sight, everything from gun safes, ice houses, to ice augers."
Menards also did well with sporting goods.
"Kayaks were one of our hottest items," said sales associate Mai Vue. "That and TVs."
Chad Kerr at Patzer's said business was good, but not a typical pattern.
"It's been almost the opposite from other Black Fridays," Kerr said. "We opened at 7 a.m., before we've had big business early in the morning. This year it started slow and picked up around 9 to 9:30."
Bob Sternke, general manager of True Value Home Center said the store opened at 6 a.m. and traffic was great.
"We had some flash specials that weren't announced ahead of time," Sternke said. "We sold a lot of pet beds, something we don't sell much any other time. We've had good sales of Christmas trees, stocking stuffers and a lot of tools."