Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion  Rich Bartolowits does some shopping for himself in the days before Christmas on Dec. 23, 2014 at Dan's TV and Appliance in Kenai, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Rich Bartolowits does some shopping for himself in the days before Christmas on Dec. 23, 2014 at Dan's TV and Appliance in Kenai, Alaska.

Area merchants ready for last shopping day before Christmas

  • By IAN FOLEY
  • Tuesday, December 23, 2014 9:28pm
  • News

With a day left before Christmas, businesses and shoppers alike are geared up for the final shopping opportunities. While some expect everything to be calm, others anticipate hectic store environments.

Don Bennett, store manager of Fred Meyer in Soldotna, said that he predicts Christmas Eve will be busier than normal.

“Everybody is going to be out,” he said. “It will be a pretty exciting time.”

Bennett said he has noticed holiday shoppers have a tendency to wait until the last minute.

“I think we’re all procrastinators in some way or another,” Bennett said. “We’ve got other things going on. Priorities change. We need to keep going until we get it done. We’re all busy.”

Bennett said that even he hasn’t finished his shopping.

“I’ve got things I need to get done, too,” he said. “I’m stressing out trying to get the last things, especially for my wife’s stocking.”

Eric Dahlman, store manager at Sportsman’s Warehouse, also says Christmas Eve is typically pretty busy, and this year will likely be no exception.

“We do expect a good final push on the last day,” he said.

While Dahlman expects the store to be busy, he said that the lack of snow this year has caused some decline in sales for items like boots, parkas and ice fishing gear.

“We just need more snow,” he said.

Dahlman said that he thinks the warm weather and clear roads this winter have also allowed people to travel to Anchorage more easily in order to do holiday shopping.

Even as some businesses predict a boost in holiday sales, some think it will be a slow day.

Scott Sheldon, manager of Dan’s TV and Appliance, said that his store has been busy and sales have been steady. Despite the good foot traffic so far, Sheldon thinks that Christmas Eve won’t be unusually hectic.

“Typically Christmas Eve isn’t super busy,” Sheldon said. “(In the morning) we’ll have a few dads rush in.”

Matt Hopson, general manager of Stanley Ford in Kenai, said that December is a slow time for car sales. Despite being open on Christmas Eve, Hopson doesn’t anticipate an unusual boost in car sales.

“I think people are buying Christmas presents instead of cars,” he said. “It’s hard to compete with Santa Claus.”

Hopson said that he might get a few people to come in and buy a car, but most people don’t tend to buy vehicles on Christmas Eve.

“There are a few people that will buy a car for a Christmas present, but the average family doesn’t do that,” he said. “That’s just probably not in their Christmas budget.”

As for local residents, many have already finished their shopping this year.

Joe Demaree of Kenai said he finished shopping three weeks ago. He said he likes to shop early so he can send his gifts in time to arrive by Christmas.

Vickie Graham of Kalifornsky Beach said that she starts shopping for the holidays in January and finishes by October. Not only does shopping early allow her to avoid the crowds, she can also find good post-holiday deals.

“All the pajamas and stuff like that are on sale (after the holidays),” she said.

 

Reach Ian Foley at Ian.foley@peninsulaclarion.com.

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