"I kind of like it," said Hadi Rismanchi as he and his family rode their bikes through the mostly-deserted plaza. "It's not about shopping, Thanksgiving. It's about family, getting together and just celebrating."
Perhaps accelerated by the huge shift to online shopping during the pandemic, national retailers like Macy's and Old Navy have halted what had been the creep of Black Friday into Thanksgiving Day.
Target says it will keep stores closed on Thanksgiving Day for good.
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Most stores are returning to what used to be traditional, a 5 a.m. start on Friday.
One exception is Game Stop in Pleasant Hill, where about a dozen people lined up in anticipation of Thursday's 5 p.m. opening.
"I'm here for the PS5," said Cashmeir Thomas, who said Black Friday shopping is an annual ritual for her. "Because the prices are a little bit more doable and not a lot of other places open to get what you need, electronics, games, all that."
Dollar Tree was one of the few other stores we found open this Thanksgiving Day.
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Besides good deals, shoppers will also find extra security this Black Friday in the wake of a series of brazen, smash-and-grab robberies in the Bay Area, including at Walnut Creek's Nordstrom store last weekend.
"It actually made it to the news in the UK that the Nordstrom store was broken into and looted," said British tourist Mike Emberson, "which was quite a shock for my partner because she just moved here the week it happened."
Now, the main street at Broadway Plaza is blocked off with bright orange barricades, and a beefed up police and private security presence, adding a bit of ominous to what's supposed to be a festive time of year.
VIDEO: Brazen flash mob-style robbery of Walnut Creek Nordstrom sparks outrage from city leaders