KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Black Friday shopping looked a little different for 2021 compared to 2020.

Not as many COVID-19 restrictions were in place, more people seemed to have shopped in person and it was a guess whether some items made it to the shelves after recent supply chain backups.

People lined up before 5 a.m. at Academy Sports and Outdoors, standing in the cold and waiting for those deals.

“Black Friday shopping! In the freezing weather,” Alaina Ward, a shopper, said.

Once the doors opened, the hunt was on for the best deals.

“Kids like to get out now and come with us too. Nothing’s a surprise anymore, but that’s OK. No, they, we get out and look at the deals. I mean, we knew they had hoodies here, so. Coming through here to see what we find,” Callie, another shopper, said.

Some say it’s back to the same ole Black Friday shopping this year, with many stores actually opening on Friday instead of Thursday.

“I’m really happy they’ve switched back to going to Friday morning shopping. I hope they continue that. Being closed on Thursday, I think. It’s good and it’s fun to get out this morning and be out here early in the morning,” Beth Underwood, a Black Friday shopper said.

Another return in 2021 was smiling faces because only a few were covered with masks. It also seemed more people returned to shopping in person.

“See more people out and they seem to be really glad to be out, which is great,” Diane Allred, another shopper, said.

As shoppers walked around, the anticipation hit as whether they would be able to find what they needed, or if the shelves would be missing a few items.

Depending on the store, that could be the case. But, Chris Akin, the Academy Sports store director, said they had it all because they planned early.

“We’ve done a good job early. Purchasing items, being in stock early. Lot of things are happening earlier this year because of the buying that we saw coming; the forecast with the logistics as a company. So, we bought early, so and I think we’re in e better position because of the early buying,” Akin said.

Customers, such as Leanne Viens, noticed that on Friday and appreciated being able to buy one of the big items on her list: a trampoline.

“I was hoping, because we definitely needed one. But, there’s only four, so we’re like ‘ah quick! Get it,'” Viens said.

Akin said trampolines and a lot of other outdoor equipment were going to be popular picks this year.

“More basketball goals. You’ll see the power cars, uh things you probably saw very limited last year from a fitness situation. We do have a lot more weights in stock, we do have a lot more treadmills, the bikes, fitness bikes,” Akin said.

Some shoppers didn’t need a list. They just needed the deals to buy for the whole family, and Academy Sports had those stocked as well.

“We have 16 grandchildren. So, I have the grandchildren, they love sports and their in sports, so. For them and the daughters and son-in-laws,” Allred said.

Although businesses for the last several months had a hard time staffing, that wasn’t an issue at this sporting goods store.

Employees filled every cash register and were seen all throughout the store.

“We also looked at staffing early this year. We didn’t wait until the last minute. So, I just think that early planning, organization kind of paid off for some of the staffing as well,” Akin said.

That meant although more people were shopping in person, they could check out quicker and head to the next deal.

“We appreciate the business, we appreciate Knoxville, the community coming out and supporting Academy,” Akin said.