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For 6 Winnipeggers, Black Friday in Grand Forks is a tradition taken to extremes

Part adventure, part business trip, part tradition. That's what Black Friday in Grand Forks is about for six Winnipeg women and apparently many others who sacrifice sleep for bargains and the thrill of the hunt. For the sixth consecutive year, Je...

Black Friday shoppers
Black Friday shoppers Candace Johannson, left, and Jen Mazur of Winnipeg brought a U Haul trailer for their three day shopping trip to Grand Forks and Fargo. They were among a group of six friends who've made the trip down from Canada for the past few years. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Part adventure, part business trip, part tradition.

That's what Black Friday in Grand Forks is about for six Winnipeg women and apparently many others who sacrifice sleep for bargains and the thrill of the hunt.

For the sixth consecutive year, Jen Mazur, Candace Johannson and four others in their group of "thirty-somethings" have made the two-and-a-half-hour drive to Grand Forks. Trailing behind their pickups were two much-needed U-Haul trailers.

"Every year, we have two to thre meetings to plan the trip," Mazur said. "We download apps, make phone calls and consume some bottles of wine while making our schedule."

The schedule started with leaving Winnipeg at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, after work. When arriving at mid-afternoon, they headed straight to three retail behemoths: Walmart, Target and Columbia Mall.

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"I filled three carts by myself in Walmart and they were all Christmas presents," Mazur said.

Because they visited retailers who were offering specials on Thanksgiving Day evening, a growing trend in the Christmas shopping routine, they didn't check into their motel until after midnight.

That didn't mean they slept, however. "Not a nap; not a wink," Johannson said.

At 3:30 a.m., with the temperature at 11 degrees and accompanied by a breeze, the well-bundled six were the first people in a line that swelled to 250 for Gordmans' 5 a.m. opening. Gordmans wasn't open on Thanksgiving Day, as many national retailers were, but attracted a crowd with a special of 25 percent off all merchandise that could fit in a shopping bag to its first 300 customers. Even with 15 checkouts, the waiting line wound its way to the back wall.

The wait and the lack of sleep for more than 24 hours had Johannson draped over her shopping cart in the checkout line after two-plus hours in Gordmans. Still ahead on Friday's itinerary was a trip to Fargo for targeted stores that included Scheels and Toys "R" Us.

Before they head home today, they will make at least one more stop to fill the remaining gaps in their U-Hauls.

"Saturday is always grocery shopping day," Mazur said.

Call Bakken at (701) 780-1125, (800) 477-6572 ext. 1125 or send email to rbakken@gfherald.com .

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Overflow parking at Menard
At Menards, additional parking was cleared east of the store. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

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