GASTONIA, N.C. — Customers in the Charlotte region are already camping out at stores well ahead of Black Friday.

Among those people are John Chapman and his childhood friend, who pitched a tent and set up a Coleman grill outside the Best Buy in Gastonia Monday night.

Chapman said they've been camping together outside the store for 15 years.

"You don't really need to camp out anymore. You can get everything online before Black Friday," Chapman said. "But we just enjoy doing it. We cook out, watch football and have a good time."

The National Retail Federation estimated more than 164 million people will shop during the Thanksgiving weekend.

The survey found about two-thirds of people go to stores solely to take advantage of the deals while 26 percent said they only shop on Black Friday out of a sense of tradition.

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