Only two shopping days left
With only a two days left until Christmas, shoppers and businesses alike are happy with how things are going this holiday season.
Many shoppers were more organized this year, which left them with shopping for small last-minute items a few days before Christmas.
Linda Montgomery was among the many shoppers who ventured out Wednesday afternoon to the stores to pick up a few last-minute Christmas presents.
This year her family decided to pick names out of a hat for Christmas presents to cut back on the money spent on the adults, although they all decided to still buy presents for the kids.
Since Maria Riccardi began her Christmas shopping two weeks ago, the only items she had left to buy a few days before Christmas were cards because she was more organized this year.
Dennis Tluczek began his shopping a month ago because he said he has more time now that he is retired. He said he spent about the same as last year even though his grandchildren are getting older and their presents cost more.
“You have to keep the economy going,” he said.
Suzanne Sorg also began and finished her shopping a month ago.
“Everything is wrapped and everything is sent on its way,” she said.
Shoppers expressed that when they were out shopping this year during the holidays, the crowds were not as bad and people were generally in a better mood.
“I think there is more hope,” Montgomery said about this holiday season. “There is more positive energy.”
Riccardi said the crowds of people were not bad this year and they were very nice.
“Maybe they can spend more and be grateful,” she said about the positive mood of everyone.
Sorg also shared that she did not feel the crowds were as bad this year as in previous years.
“It is very pleasant this year,” she said about the shoppers. “It could be that they are eagerly waiting for friends and relatives to be visiting to put them in a better mood.”
Local businesses also shared an excitement about this year’s holiday shopping due to good and steady crowds making their way through the stores.
“Business has been good and steady,” Beall’s Outlet Store Manager Meris Chancer said about this year’s shopping season.
She said every year they have last-minute shoppers stopping by to pick up their gifts, with the majority of shoppers being men on Christmas Eve.
There are “wiser shoppers this year,” Chancer said, and “they have been more particular with what they want.”
Chancer said everything in the store is currently on special, which includes great gifts for men and women. The collegiate items are already marked down, she explained, along with all of the Christmas home decorations.
“We got it all,” Chancer said, adding that shoppers just have to stop by because they make the bargain shopping easy, along with providing good quality. “We have wonderful stuff.”
The store hours have been extended throughout the season, she said, so they could accommodate all of the shoppers.
Beall’s Outlet will be open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
Crystal’s Hallmark owner Nancy Kreller also expressed that her store’s sales have continued to be good since Black Friday weekend because people are ready to shop due to them being tired of being in a recession.
“People are shopping very happily this year,” she said, adding “more so than last year.”
The sales are up 15 percent from the previous year, Kreller explained because Hallmark took a more aggressive approach in advertising this year.
The Hallmark coupons that have been circulating among the shoppers has also helped with the sales, she said because it is “bringing in people that didn’t necessarily shop Hallmark before.”
The recordable book remains the hot item at Crystal’s Hallmark, she explained because there are a lot of grandparents who live in Cape Coral who are sending the books off to their grandchildren.
The recordable books, which are a combination of Christmas stories and traditional nursery rhymes provides grandparents and parents with the opportunity to record their voice as they read every page.
Crystal’s Hallmark is open Christmas Eve from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Kreller said. Then on Sunday, the store will have its after Christmas sale from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. with any leftover Christmas items half price.
Kohl’s Store Manager Sabrina Howerton said the store has also been extremely busy since Black Friday.
“We have had great crowds from the time we open to the time we close,” she said. “It is pretty exciting.”
Howerton said she believes the great turn-out is due to the extended hours. This week, with the exception of Christmas Eve, they have had their doors open from 6 a.m. until midnight.
“I have been pleased with how busy we have been,” she said. “It has been great, it’s been a great season.”
On Christmas Eve, Kohl’s will be open from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m., she said to offer 12 hours of last-minute shopping for her customers. Howerton said since it is mostly husbands who come out to get their last-minute gifts they have extra people scheduled at the jewelry and fragrance counters.
The day after Christmas, Howerton said, they will open their doors at 5 a.m. to offer customers with the opportunity to take advantage of early bird specials, along with getting a jump start on returning or exchanging items.
Howerton said all of the customers have been wonderful this year and some of them have been shopping with their Santa hats on.
“Parents are in a good mood.”