Patti Wheeler was out shopping, even before Black Friday arrived this year.

She started looking for door-busters at 10 p.m. Thursday at the Walmart in Athens Township and in Elmira, N.Y., and continued to shop until about 5:30 a.m. Friday, when she went home and got a couple hours sleep.

Then, the Monroeton area resident got up and went back out shopping.

"It was fun," she said. "I love Black Friday. I think it's worth it to fight the crowds."

She was of the many people in the area who took to the stores in search of specials this year for Black Friday.

The Kmart department store in Wysox Township had a line of about 250 people outside the store when it opened with special door-buster sales at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, according to Ron Vaillancourt, store manager.

After being open most of Thanksgiving Day, the store closed for four hours, and then re-opened at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, with a similar size line at that time.

The line was a little smaller when the department store re-opened at 5 a.m. on Black Friday, he noted.

While they waited in line outside the Kmart, shoppers could obtain tickets for many of the door-buster items they wanted, which guaranteed that they would be able to purchase the item once they got into the store. With a ticket in hand, the customer would go to the appropriate counter in the store and pick up the item he or she wanted. The distribution of the tickets results in a more orderly shopping experience, Vaillancourt noted.

TVs and computer tablets were among the door-buster items that were particularly in demand this year.

So far, business at the Wysox Kmart has been strong this Christmas season, according to Vaillancourt.

This year, the JC Penney store in Wysox Township wasn't offering door-busters on Black Friday, but instead had a special one-day sale where most items in the store were sold at approximately 30 percent off the ticketed price, which is the store's everyday low price, according to Sylvia Power, the store leader.

That is "an outstanding deal for customers," she said, adding that the store had been having a very steady stream of traffic on Friday.

While the JC Penney store in Wysox Township had opened at 4 a.m. on Black Friday last year, this year the store didn't open on Black Friday opening until 6 a.m. She noted that the later opening "allows our (employees') families to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday."

At the Sears store in Wysox Township "well over 50 people came through the doors" when it opened at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, said co-owner Patti Mihalik.

Many stores in the Valley started the shopping season early, pulling strong crowds with "door buster" sales that began Thursday.

Kmart on Elmira Street in Sayre opened from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, offering Thanksgiving-only deals on electronics, toys and other goods, according to manager Bobbi Jo Parmenter. A large crowd of shoppers packed the store Thursday morning and returned for additional deals when the store re-opened at 8 p.m. Thursday, she said. The store then closed at 3 a.m. Friday and opened again at 5 a.m. for a third round of sales.

"Our competitors didn't have door busters on Thanksgiving, so we had a lot of shoppers."

Televisions, including a 50-inch flat-screen model on sale for $288, were big sellers at Kmart on Thursday and Friday, Parmenter said. Other hot items included tablets and toys, specifically Innotab 2 children's tablets and Leapster learning game systems, she noted.

Lines continued to form at Peebles, also on Elmira Street, through early Friday afternoon. The store offered 300 sales on toys, clothing, boots, jewelry, holiday decorations and other items until 1:30 p.m. Friday, according to store manager Paula Vogt.

Peebles also held Thanksgiving shopping hours from 8 p.m. to midnight. About 150 customers waited outside Thursday night for the doors to open, she noted.

Sales-wise, "it was a great day," she said.

Local merchants also had Black Friday specials.

Mary Perry Rogers of the Tioga County Open Door Mission, which operates the Red Door Café and Thrift Store in Waverly, said she expected Friday to be quiet because of sales at major chain stores and because the store sells mainly secondhand items. However, the store had a "make a reasonable offer" sale Friday, allowing shoppers to name their own prices for items, Rogers commented.

Karen Vaughan, owner of Backwoods Primitives in Sayre, said she holds off on discounts until an open house held on the Saturday after Black Friday each year.

"We usually get quite a crowd."

In Troy, the CopperTree Shop on Ballard Street had Black Friday specials, Santa Claus for the children, and free snacks.

Sadie Allen of Granville Summit bought a beeswax candle that was 20 percent off for Black Friday.

She thought the mark-off was "awesome" and planned to use the candle for a Christmas gift. Allen also liked the free coffee that was available. She was thirsty, and she also said it would keep her warm.

Allen liked the store's mission. The shop is a subsidiary of Martha Lloyd Community Services Inc. and its proceeds benefit people with developmental disabilities.

Store manager Shelley Walcheski said the store's free snacks included cheese, crackers, beef stick, and pepperoni.

"We had this to help them if they get hungry."

Some items at the CopperTree Shop were 50 percent off for Black Friday, including shower curtains and an item called a "Dip Chiller," which can be used to keep dip cool.

Walcheski said Black Friday results in extra business for the store.

"It's a good day for us. We've had a lot of people in."

The Dollar General Store in Troy had a flier listing various specials that were in effect from Thursday through Saturday.

In downtown Troy, Mrs. Hutter's Hilltop Florist had 75 percent off Christmas knick-knacks, which included decorative sleighs and ornaments.

Owner Marilynne Burchard said Black Friday business was good, and she was excited about National Small Business Saturday, being held today.

"We're loading up with more inventory."

Eric Hrin, James Loewenstein and Amanda Renko contributed to this story.