RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Following a slow Black Friday morning, crowds picked up in the Triangle in the afternoon.
Shoppers and employees both noticed an uptick in traffic inside Crabtree Valley Mall, which had opened late Thursday to formally kick off the holiday season.
"I really just came here with my grandma. We're looking for some shoes, looking for those good deals, trying to beat the crowds, see what's good - what's not good," said Candice Kelly.
"No, it's not my idea... it's not my idea. I drive and carry bags, but it's a good time," joked Howard Toomer of Apex.
Toomer came with his family as part of a group of ten people, weaving their way in and out of stores. Outside the buzz of the crowds, Toomer said in-store retail has its benefits over online shopping.
"I'm an old-school like to touch-it, feel-it type of guy. Yes, so I can't get that experience online. I'm not a big online shopper," Toomer said.
The increasing reliance on online retail has been a concern to many brick-and-mortar businesses.
According to Adobe Analytics, consumers set a record in Cyber Monday sales last year, totaling $6.59 billion.
"Brick-and-mortar stores support the community. They support families. They provide jobs,and there's nothing like the interaction that you get here with people every year," said Patsy King, a retired teacher who works part-time at a kiosk at the mall.
On Thursday, hundreds of people waited outside Belk - one of the mall's anchor stores - to score a $25 gift card and be entered for a chance to win a $500 gift card.
Belk opened at 4:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving, while the rest of the mall opened at 6:00 p.m.
A Belk employee said the crowd waiting to get in was larger this year than last, adding they were pleased with the turnout.
Big crowds at Crabtree Valley Mall for Black Friday
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