DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Shoppers hit the malls, searching for the perfect gifts. Black Friday marked the official start of the holiday shopping season.

The crowds were steady at both the Dayton Mall and the Mall at Fairfield Commons. Shoppers flocked to stores, hoping to score some of the Black Friday deals and check off presents on their Christmas lists.

“It’s amazing. Buy one, get one free! You see my bags, and I’m not even done yet!” Origynald Long, a shopper at the Dayton Mall, said.

This was the first time McKenzie Graft-Frost and Kobe Sargent participated in Black Friday shopping and they had a blast.

“It’s been pretty good. A lot of good deals and it’s been busy here,” Sargent said.

The malls looked different this year. The COVID-19 pandemic was a blow to brick-and-mortar stores as people turned to online shopping for a safer way to find gifts. But this year, the malls are bustling again.

“Our customer response has been great. We open our doors at 7 o’clock this morning and we’ve been very, very busy,” Leanna Robosky, the General Manager of the Mall at Fairfield Commons, said.

Families and friends were back at the malls taking part in the treasured tradition of kicking off the holiday season together.

“It’s so great to see people just out, enjoying themselves, having a good time. Just a lot of the family traditions that have been going on for decades. It’s fun,” Dave Duebber, the General Manager of the Dayton Mall, said.

Even though the mall traffic was heavier this year, some stores still dealt with pandemic pains this Black Friday. Timothy Hebert is the General Manager of Original 151 in the Mall at Fairfield Commons. He sells authentic Pokémon merchandise. Hebert is no stranger to shipping delays and rising costs brought on by the global supply chain issue.

“A lot of things were shipping and it was taking months and months to arrive, where it used to be a week for this to get shipped to us. So, it’s been pretty difficult to get stuff over,” Hebert said.

Despite those setbacks, Hebert considered this Black Friday a success.

“Last year was our first year in this location doing Black Friday and with COVID-19, it was not excellent. Very, very different than what we would’ve expected. But this year has been fantastic,” Hebert said.

While other stores may have been dealing with the effects of the supply chain shortage this holiday season, one local business has been able to weather the storm.

“We hand wrap everything here, so it’s not really getting stuff from other countries too much or depending on them. So, a lot of stuff is done here at the shop,” Sehvann Hill, an associate at Elena2You, said.

Elena2You opened a store in the Mall at Fairfield Commons a month ago. Employees said their first Black Friday was busy.

“Very busy since 7 a.m. We’ve had many people in here and out. We’ve had lots of Christmas gifts going out the door,” Vonda Glaser, a store associate, said.

Both malls are offering a variety of events this holiday season. To find out more about their schedules, click here and here.