ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The holiday shopping season has officially kicked off. 

  • Black Friday shopping busy but not as frenzied as past years
  • Stores are competing with online retailers for Black Friday shoppers
  • Black Friday store hours

In some cases - last night - or even Thanksgiving Day afternoon. 

Several stores across the Bay area were open and ready for business Friday morning. Millions more are shopping online in the hunt for the biggest bargains. 

And with more shopping traffic online, the in-person Black Friday rush has slowed a bit. There's still plenty of cars in the malls and retail outlets parking lots but things appear to be calmer.

But that didn't stop some Bay area shoppers from heading out. 

Plenty of people hit stores that opened early, including Angel Davis, who headed to Best Buy in Clearwater. 

"I came down from New Port Richy," Davis said. "Well there’s one up there by me but they were out of a lot of things so I hiked down here." 

Store managers said they were expecting to see thousands of customers. 

One hot spot in the Bay area was the Bass Pro Shops near Brandon, where large crowds turned out early.

"I expected a lot more," said shopper Joseph Ronquillo. "When we came at noon we thought we were gonna have like 20 people here but we weren’t sure. But then when we came there were only like four people. 

"Then we were like we could’ve came later."

Premium Outlets in Ellenton opened Thanksgiving night and remained open until early Friday. The doors reopened at 6 a.m.