GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Black Friday is still a big deal, but many mega-retailers are opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day.
Money is driving the move, whether it is a good thing for customers and store employees depends on who you ask.
Meijer is the exception -- it has been open on Thanksgiving Day for decades. But now, the retailer has competition from stores like Target and Walmart offering Black Friday-type deals -- only earlier.
Target will open its doors at 9 p.m. Thursday. More sales and profit are the obvious driving force, but the store is also taking a cue from customers who may have black Friday fears.
Among those fears, Target shopper Cassidy Peplinksi said, is "getting trampled." Others don't want to camp out just to get those Friday door-buster deals.
"That's a huge reason of why we're doing 9 p.m.," explained Josh Hoadly, the manager of the Alpine Avenue Target. "We're getting huge responses from it. A lot of guests are very happy and talking about it."
The competition is thick. Other retailers like Walmart, Kmart, Sears and Toys R Us are also opening early on Thanksgiving. And like Target, they are offering special deals for the "new" early birds and traditional Black Friday crowd.
"So we're having our 9 p.m. super door-busters, and for the people that don't want to come in at nine, we're also having additional surprise sales at 4 a.m. that run until noon," said Hoadly.
Meijer has been in the Thanksgiving game for years.
"It's always been a very, very good grocery day for us," said Larry Levin, director of the Alpine Avenue Meijer.
While Meijer's primary focus is food, it is adapting to the competition by offering special adds on clothes and electronics. But it's the "Meijer way" the retailer hopes will continue to set it apart.
"The fact that we're here all the time and we're 24 hours and we don't close to open on a special day for a special deal," Levin specified. "We try to have that going all the time. I think that's really what's special for us and sets us apart."
But with early hours, Black Friday and shopping online, many shoppers are finding all the options a bit too much.
"I think it's almost kind of sad because people lose the idea of what holidays are and come shopping instead, more worried about the deals instead of what the holiday actually means," said Cassidy Peplinski.
As for employees having to work on Thanksgiving, Target says it planned in advance, giving employees the option to work, and worked out schedules from there.
Target: 9 p.m. Thanksgiving through midnight Black Friday
Walmart: 6 p.m. Thanksgiving through midnight Black Friday
Sears: 8 p.m. Thanksgiving to 1a.m. Opens again 4 a.m. Friday
Toys R Us: 8 p.m. Thanksgiving through Friday 11 p.m.
Kent County officials are trying to avoid the case of a rookie corrections officer -- who was assaulted on the job and then fired -- from going to an arbitrator.
Philanthropist Ralph W. Hauenstein is donating $1 million to Grand Valley State University's Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies.
A woman from Mount Pleasant died after her SUV crashed on a road in Montcalm County.