Shop owners bracing for last minute Christmas rush

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - We are now one week away from Christmas. Many store owners depend of heavy traffic this time of year to put their revenues in the black. Some Bay St. Louis merchants talked about whether they think most of their sales have been made or if a last minute shopping frenzy is on the way.

Nancy Hardenstein was still searching for the right gifts on Saturday to be able to check off the final names on her Christmas list.

"I would say I'm 90 percent done," said Hardenstein. "I just have about three gifts for three special friends, and I'm just looking for that special thing."

So far this holiday season merchants in downtown Bay St. Louis say there hasn't been a mad rush of shoppers; however, they expect that could change as we inch closer to Christmas Day.

Pam Collins is the owner of Twin Light Creations.

"This morning has been very steady since the moment we opened the door. I've had a lot of calls waiting to see how late we're open tonight. A lot of people already asking how late are we going to be open Christmas Eve, so that tells me there is going to be a lot of last minute Christmas shoppers."

Shop owners say sales are up this year over last thanks to loyal local customers, as well as tourists. With the economy down, they say it doesn't hurt to offer a few more incentives.

"Locally, we have to do a little something," said Doris Felder, owner of Uptown Interiors and Gifts. "The malls are giving stuff away, so I think we really need to try to do the best we can giving discounts. Try to help out our local people."

The slow economy is also affecting what people can expect to find under the tree this Christmas.

"People are going for yard art. They like the different. They like the things that move," said Collins. "People are staying home more because of the economy, so they're giving gifts for people to enjoy in their yards. Gifts for the home and gifts for the garden really are selling well."

Bay St. Louis merchants say having so many people looking for one of a kind and unique gifts this year has been a plus for business.

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