HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — Thanksgiving dinner is finished and leftovers are put away, which means it’s now the official start of the holiday season. For some people, it’s a day dedicated to shopping for those Black Friday sales.

Last year, due to the pandemic, many people decided to stay in and shop online. Well, this year it’s a different story as more people feel comfortable getting back out and shopping in person. Hundreds of shoppers flocked to the Riverchase Galleria to begin checking off their Christmas list.

“We’re here black Friday shopping trying to catch a deal because I love to catch a deal I’m all for a coupon,” said shopper Tee Billups.

Black Friday shopping is an annual tradition for Billups and her family. But this year she’s noticed things are a bit different when it comes to tags.

“A couple of high prices I’m like this wasn’t even worth that before Black Friday I’m not paying $100 dollars for it now. Yes, a little bit of a spike in prices,” said Billups.

As the economy comes out of the pandemic, shoppers are dealing with inflation and higher prices. Some items are becoming harder to find due to shipping delays at ports and a nationwide trucker shortage.

“I’ve been trying to order a TV since 5 a.m. this morning; they are not available anywhere,” said Billups.

Locally, businesses say they’ve been preparing months ahead for shoppers to ensure their shelves are stocked.

“Here I’ve already discussed this with almost all of our retailers their inventory is stocked and there’s no shipping delay; here things you can come in touch them try on a walk around and you can get out of here with what you need for Christmas,” Riverchase Galleria Senior General Manager Mike White said.

White says he expects the number of shoppers to be up from last year, and he’s hoping the trend will continue throughout December.

“I’ve looked at sales compared to 2019 just discounted last year, and we’ve really done well property-wide: we’ve been up from our 2019 sales. So, people are getting back out I think it’s important for people to feel comfortable,” said White.

“Feels like the holidays this year because everyone is back out. You know some people are wearing a mask, but they are out so it feels like the holidays,” said Billups.

If you weren’t able to get out to shop on, Friday make sure you make time to shop local tomorrow for Small Business Saturday.