Half-price Christmas stuff, other deals draw in day-after shoppers
WILLMAR -- Crowded parking lots and lines outside the door awaited area merchants when they welcomed post-Christmas shoppers Tuesday morning. "We had about 150 to 200 people at the door this morning when we opened," said Target manager Steve Bjor...
WILLMAR -- Crowded parking lots and lines outside the door awaited area merchants when they welcomed post-Christmas shoppers Tuesday morning.
"We had about 150 to 200 people at the door this morning when we opened," said Target manager Steve Bjornberg. "It's been busy."
The store didn't have a lot of returns -- "People seem to spread returns out" -- but the store saw brisk business in holiday merchandise the first morning it was sold at half price.
"It's first come, first served with that stuff," so people made sure they got in early to pick up decorations, lights and Christmas trees, Bjornberg said.
People who'd gotten gift cards were using them for lots of electronics, movies and books, he said.
The parking lots were still crowded all around the Kandi Mall early Tuesday afternoon.
Karen Falk had found a comfortable seat outside the Herberger's Home Store while she waited for her daughter, who was shopping for a wedding gift inside.
"We didn't return anything; we had really good luck this year," she said. They did find a few good deals, though. In their two hours in the mall, along with Christmas cards and decorations, they found a stars-and-stripes tablecloth for the Fourth of July and some warm vests and hats.
Stores appeared prepared for the onslaught. They saw some lines, but they weren't too bad, Falk said.
Two women guarded shopping carts filled with bags as they waited for family members to return.
Lavonne Silverberg of Litchfield joked that she was "the bag lady" while her family did some power shopping. "My daughter-in-law got decorations for next year," she said. "I got some slippers for my husband."
While the mall was busy, "this isn't near as bad as I thought it would be the day after Christmas," she said. "This is a nice shopping center -- I like lots of benches."
Deloris Mahlow of Bird Island sat at the other end of the bench.
"We always have done this, for many years," she said. Her daughter Diane Burmeister of Buffalo Lake and her 11-year-old twins Ashley and Vanessa were shopping with her.
Mahlow bought Christmas kitchen towels and gift bags, which she decorates for craft sales. The girls shopped in Claire's Boutique. Ashley showed her grandmother her purchases -- something she could give as a gift and something "for myself."
At Elmquist Jewelers in downtown Willmar, the store is busy behind the scenes both before and after the holidays, said co-owner Mike Noonan.
While shoppers were looking for sale-priced Christmas dishes and other deals on Tuesday, the store's jewelers were hard at it fitting rings and adding stones to the store's popular add-a-diamond bracelets. Before the holidays, they made numerous mother's rings.
Returns aren't that common in his business, though, Noonan said.
"Maybe because jewelry is such a personal gift," he said, most women don't return jewelry their husbands or boyfriends have chosen.
"Not that many guys pick stuff out for their other halves," he said. "It's special to the women."
Gift cards were popular at the Mill Pond Mercantile in New London this year, said co-owner Ginny Knapp.
"We've been redeeming quite a few of them," she said Tuesday afternoon. Several customers came in to the gift shop with their cards to purchase "something they've been eyeing for a while," she added.
Christmas merchandise was marked down, and many people were buying it to use as gifts for next year.
"I've heard several people say, 'I'm getting my Christmas shopping done for next year, too,'" she said.
Merchants said their customers were in good moods for day-after shopping.
"There was a lot of laughter," Knapp said, and that could be heard in the background as she spoke on the phone.
"I haven't had a crabby one yet," she said, and she credited that to her store's destination as a place for "entertainment shopping."
"Typically, it's a fun day," Bjornberg said of the post-Christmas shopping at Target. "There's a little bit of excitement" and people seemed happy to be getting good deals and left with smiles on their faces, he said.