St. Pete Shoppers hunt for bargains in pajamas and bikinis

St. Pete Shoppers hunt for bargains in pajamas and bikinis

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The Sunrise Sale is a St. Petersburg tradition local merchants look forward to during each slow summer. The Sunrise Sale is a St. Petersburg tradition local merchants look forward to during each slow summer.
The Sunrise Sale is a St. Petersburg tradition local merchants look forward to during each slow summer. The Sunrise Sale is a St. Petersburg tradition local merchants look forward to during each slow summer.
The Sunrise Sale is a St. Petersburg tradition local merchants look forward to during each slow summer. The Sunrise Sale is a St. Petersburg tradition local merchants look forward to during each slow summer.
The Sunrise Sale is a St. Petersburg tradition local merchants look forward to during each slow summer. The Sunrise Sale is a St. Petersburg tradition local merchants look forward to during each slow summer.
ST. PETERSBURG, FL. (WFLA) -

It's not every day you get to leave the house in your bunny slippers and pajamas. But one day each year, shop owners in downtown St. Petersburg don't care about a dress code.

"It was kind of odd walking out of the house in your jammies," said Linda Boyce as she walked down Beach Drive early Thursday morning.

The Sunrise Sale is a St. Petersburg tradition local merchants look forward to during each slow summer.

"The perk of this is to help kind of get that December feel in July," said Matt Shapiro, Downtown Business Association President and co-owner of Shapiro's Gallery. "It's nice to have a day when people are kicking down the doors wanting to buy lots of items and also its a chance for us to give back to our customers for supporting us all year."

Retailers say the landscape of downtown St. Petersburg has changed a lot since the first Sunrise Sale was held 41 years ago.

"Downtown was the only destination. There were no malls or anything else," said Jim Watters of Bruce Watters Jewelers.

Before Black Friday, opening the doors early for door busters and deep discounts was a new concept at Bruce Watters. Four decades later, the family run business is still a Sunrise Sale staple.

"It will carry on and we will continue to do it for years and years," said Watters.

From the oldest jewelry store in town to the newest, Diamonds Direct is the first business to open its doors at the new Sundial shopping complex.

Mayor Rick Kriseman says Sundial will add a new element to the "shop local" sentiment that keeps getting bargain hunters out of bed year after year.

"It's very rare that you find a chain in our downtown area," said Kriseman.

The Downtown Business Association had more than 40 shops sign up for Thursday's sale. Stores opened their doors at the traditional time of 6:43 a.m. Some shops offered extra discounts to people who showed up in their pajamas or bathsuits to go along with this year's Sunrise Sale theme "PaJammin".

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