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Overall numbers may be down, but local malls were filled this Black Friday

The number of people shopping Black Friday deals has dropped significantly in recent years, while the number of people shopping online has increased. But the parking lots at the Niagara Falls Fashion Outlet Mall still filled up fast and the spirit of the season filled the air.

Credit Marian Hetherly / WBFO News
Angela from West Seneca found plenty of deals for her large family.

WBFO found Brenda, who came down from Hamilton, ON with her friend Pat to stay the entire weekend. They prefer shopping in stores instead of online.

"We come here off and on all the time, especially Black Friday for the deals," Brenda said. "I get inundated with the online stuff somewhat. I can do it, but I'm not as good at it. I rather the old fashioned way. I like to see it before I purchase it."

Paris Chen was shopping with his parents. Chen is originally from Lockport, now living in Atlanta. He likes Black Friday shopping in stores.

"It's a big family tradition. We do this every year. We would've came here earlier, like last night, but we had a family dinner. There's nothing better than going to get it and having it," Chen said. "Online, it depends on what it is. Sneakers are basically a part of my life. A lot of my sneakers are online that I get. I usually never get sneakers at the mall."

Credit Marian Hetherly / WBFO News
The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign was collecting donations as shoppers collected deals.

Black Friday shopping is a tradition for Angela from West Seneca. In fact, she had been up all night when we found her at the Build-a-Bear stand.

"I went out last night, actually, with my mother and then I stayed up until 5 a.m. and then came out here. Yes, it's been an adventure," she said. "It's a lot of work, but for me I feel like it was worth it. The deals we got today were really good."

Angela said she has a very large family on her shopping list and she prefers the in-store experience to online.

"Because I like to actually like to see how things look and fit and feel," she said. "Some things I'll buy online, like boots and things like that for the kids, but I'd rather be at the store. It's fun."

The iconic Salvation Army Red Kettle was at the Niagara Falls Fashion Outlet Mall today, collecting donations as shoppers collected Black Friday deals. This year, smart ships and Q-R codes on every kettle allow donors to give with the credit card attached to their smartphone, or by dropping cash into the kettle.

Credit Marian Hetherly / WBFO News
Aaron Maltrom (l) and Chris Ambrosia were among the off-duty Niagara Falls firefighters braving the cold to collect donations from passing drivers.

On the way to the mall, WBFO found members of the Niagara Falls Fire Department. About 10 off-duty firefighters were at the intersection of Niagara Falls Boulevard and Military Road, collecting for their annual toy fund

"We do this every year, collections for the Niagara Falls Toy Fund. We also do the collecting at the stores. That'll be next week. We do things throughout the years, like a charity run," said firefighter Erin Malstrom. All this goes toward kids that aren't so fortunate. Nobody out here is getting pay for this. It's all volunteer. Anything we do as far as the Toy Fund is all volunteer from our guys."

Credit Marian Hetherly / WBFO News
Off-duty members of the Niagara Falls Fire Department were collecting for their annual Toy Fund.

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