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Trio reunites for Black Friday camp out one week in advance

DELAFIELD -- Every year, rain or shine, snow or sun they reunite.

Three former strangers, now friends, camp outside the Delafield best buy one full week before  Thanksgiving.

\"We sit around and spend the week, you know, enjoying each others company and talking about the things  that went on over the year,\" camper Michael Franke said.

Franke (from Waterford), Debra Janczak (from Milwaukee) and Jason Schwartz (from Watertown) set up just steps  from the store's entrance.  Janczak  and her daughter \"unofficially\" started things four years ago with a simple chair and umbrella.

\"That first year on the lawn chair,  no, I just thought my daughter's crazy and I'm crazy for listening,\" Janczak said.  \"Now, I get excited, we get excited probably in September.\"

The trio meets up a week or two in advance to talk shopping strategy and find out who's bringing what. They bring heaters, plenty of clothes and, this year, a heated trailer with a TV.

\"Strangers will just drive by and see us and they'll come back with coffee,\" Franke said.  \"We all get a kick out of it.\"

As for when nature calls?  Best Buy allows them in to use the facilities and plan their shopping during store hours.  Beyond that, the group relies on family.

\"Some of us stay here and then we'll go home for a couple hours, get a shower, spend some time with the  family, warm up and come back,\" Schwartz said.  \"We rotate.\"

The trio admits they look forward to finishing their shopping and sleeping in their own beds again.  But they wouldn't trade these seven days together for anything.

\"We made a family and just take care of each other,\" Schwartz said.

 \"You kind of have to be crazy to do this,\" Franke said.  \"But at the same time... it's become kind of fun and for us, as silly as it sounds, we have a good time doing it.\"


Doors open at the Best Buy Thanksgiving night at 6 p.m.


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