Vicky Huang and her mother, Jane, were a bit early for the opening of Macy's but decided to wait in front of the Claflin Street entrance of the Belmont store.
"We're here because we want to find some bargains," said Vicky. "It's fun to wait."
But unlike the other 350 days when the store opens when the sun rises, the nearby church bells had just struck the midnight hour.
The Huang's were joined by about two dozen shoppers who came to the Belmont Macy's and millions around the country who wanted to be the first to took advantage of the initial major sale of the holiday season the day after Thanksgiving. At Macy's, that meant between 20 percent to 60 percent off along with 15 percent off coupons.
"It's my first time I've gone out this early on Black Friday," said Vicky who was wearing a nearly-identical short, white hooded winter jacket as her mom.
For Arlington resident Lalit Joshi, his family's Thanksgiving celebration had ended only about an hour earlier and decided that since he was still awake, he would come to Macy's to look for shirts and gifts.
Unlike the Huang's, Joshi is a veteran of an earlier Black Friday sale a few years ago, having stood at the doors of an electronics store for a steal on a flat-screen television.
"I wanted to get out of the house and Belmont is a quaint town, but mostly I'm here out of curiosity to see what was on sale," said Joshi.
Around 12:20 a.m., the doors were opened to bring in those waiting outside and in their cars from the cold and begin a long day for shoppers and the store's staff.
Customers – including several who came with children – either wandered the store's three floors looking for the best deals or made a beeline for specific departments where they quickly made their purchases.
Within 15 minutes after the opening, a half-dozen customers were in women's shoes trying on mostly boots at $30 off, keeping Sales Associate Christina Hughs on her toes.
Kathy Freeman, merchandise manager for Macy's, said the Belmont Center location joined the firm's other 800 stores around the country either opening at midnight or a little after like Belmont and stores in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
"Oh, this is the best time to come shop. You get all the help you need and there's no crowd," said Freeman, as a mom, her daughter and daugher-in-law walked through the doors.
"We were up, so why not?" said Cambridge resident Joan Delvecchio as her daughter-in-law headed towards the baby section.