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Magical Night of Giving kicks off holiday shopping season

By Jonathan Radford, jradford@wcyb.com
Published On: Nov 17 2013 10:03:06 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 17 2013 04:29:00 PM CST
MAGICAL NIGHT OF GIVING
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -

The lights, carols, and Santa all tells us Christmas is on the way. With just 37 days to go, shoppers packed The Mall at Johnson City Sunday for the Magical Night of Giving.

"It's nice to get a head start before the really big crowds of Black Friday," said Melissa Dixon, a shopper.

"We usually have anywhere from 7,000 to 10,000 [shoppers] based on weather and how close it is the holidays," said Marsha Hammond, marketing director at The Mall at Johnson City.

Hammond tells News 5 with the late arrival of the Thanksgiving holiday, the shopping season will be a little shorter this year.

She adds that for the first time in ever the mall will open its door on Thanksgiving Day.

"We actually have most of our department stores and select retailers opening at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. The entire mall will be open on midnight of Black Friday. So we've got a lot of people who are shopping early, The consumers have demanded it," said Hammond.

Mall officials tell News 5 even with Black Friday, the Magical Night of Giving provides an extra and early boost.

Over the past 15 years it has brought in more than $1 million to help community organizations like the United Way. "Its an opportunity for us to provide resources for children, adults, for seniors in our community. It allows us to make sure we are taking care of our education focus, our income of financial stability focus," said Lester Lattany, President of the Johnson City/Washington County United Way.

He tells News 5 they have 66 percent of the funds needed to reach their $1.7 million year-long goal, and on Thursday he'll find out if the Magical Night of Giving pushed them over the top.

Dixon who also volunteered at the Magical Night of Giving believes the night not only helps people, but it also helps the economy.

"The economy has turned around and a lot of stores are offering great discounts this year," said Dixon.