CHICAGO (WLS) -- Black Friday is still one day away, but holiday shopping was already underway in Chicago this Thanksgiving.
A Kmart in Chicago's Irving Park neighborhood opened its doors to shoppers around 6 a.m. Thursday, offering Black Friday deals well before the day itself.
"It was beautiful we had over a 100 people in line. It was a sight to see. It was a great way to start off the day," said Jim Weglarz, Kmart's manager.
"I'd expect to save a couple hundred dollars, oh, yes, especially for craftsman tool set," said Robert Johnson, a shopper.
Weglarz he knows in the past couple of years, the notion of retailers making their employees work on Thanksgiving itself has given rise to controversy. But he said Kmart has been open on Thanksgiving for years.
"Kmart has been open on Thanksgiving for years. So this is not new to us. We allow our associates to come in the morning, in the evening. We're very accommodating to their schedule," Weglarz said.
Toys R Us stores opened at 5 p.m. Target, Macy's and Sears opened at 6 p.m.
Some stores opted to not open on Thanksgiving. Those retailers are encouraging their customers to spend time with family on Thursday.
REI has chosen to give its employees a paid holiday to "opt outdoors" with their families. For those who support the company's stance, REI is offering deals online. Other companies remaining closed Thursday include big retailers like H&M, Nordstrom's, Home Depot and Barnes & Noble.
The Better Business Bureau shared a few tips for consumers heading to stores over the holiday weekend:
-Research before you shop.
-Know store policies on returns.
-Ask for gift receipts.
For the best deals, make sure to do some research before heading out the door.
ShopGenius and InvisibleHand will alert shoppers before they make a purchase if the item they want is cheaper somewhere else.
Paribus works the purchase. It will let consumers know when they missed out on a deal or coupon and will get them a refund. The only downside to the service is Paribus requires access to users' emails. Online shoppers benefit the most.
Black Friday shopping started early at stores open on Thanksgiving