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Holiday shopping heads into final stretch
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Trail with holiday stock piling up and, at some places, disappearing quickly.
Holiday shopping is in full swing at Waneta Plaza, which is now open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Kids can visit and get their photo taken with Santa Claus on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday until Dec. 23, according to mall manager Linda MacDermid.
Seasonal stores have popped up in the facility, which is now at full capacity aside from the empty former Zellers location that closed last year.
MacDermid said foot traffic hasn't slowed down from the loss of the banner store but admits living close to a border can have its toll on local business.
“In the past week we have noticed an increase but there had been a decrease and that we feel is primarily due to cross-border shopping,” she said this month when extended hours kicked in. “Now I don't know if it's the weather or the Canadian dollar but for the past two weeks the shoppers have increased.”
It looks as though Greater Trail residents may do shopping outside of the area and online, if recent Trail Daily Times' web polls are any indication. Sixty per cent of those who participated in a November poll admitted to doing holiday shopping outside of Greater Trail while 50 per cent said they would do more shopping online than in stores this Christmas, it was recorded this month.
It's been a rather slow start across the city in downtown Trail, according to Grace Hiney, manager of Kris Kringle's Christmas Corner.
Kris Kringle's opened last year as a seasonal shop but with much success has stayed open since, changing its name to Unforgettables during the off season.
“Last year we didn't open until November 26 so it was kind of a rush for everybody to get in our store and see what we had to scoop up,” she said. “This year it's coming and everything but I think people are waiting to buy.”
Positive feedback to the holiday speciality store last year drove storeowner Bill Garnett to change the store's names back to its original title just through the holiday season.
Starting Monday, Kris Kringle's will stay open as late as 7 p.m. if there are customers and the store is set to open on Dec. 22 to allow last-minute shoppers a chance to buy on a Sunday, when most other stores are closed in Trail.
Not all local businesses are choosing to make changes to regular operations. Barb Billingsley, owner of The Doorway, did take part in a few promotional events but for the most part is keeping business as usual.
Trail's indoor markets wrapped up for the season this past Friday, which was the only real successful event of the three in terms of shoppers, according to Norm Casler, executive director of Trail & District Chamber of Commerce.
Friday's market attracted 50 vendors and several hundred customers.
“We feel it becomes a slightly different market once it moves inside as quite a few of the vendors are different and it becomes a little more craft oriented,” he said. “We're not sure if it really brings people into the downtown core like the outdoor markets did nor did it have that amazing exciting vibe that the spectacular Esplanade location had and that is something we will have to look at.”
Overall 158 different vendors participated in at least one of the 14 markets (indoor and outdoor), with revenue and expenses both up slightly, he added.