Christmas apparel for four legged friends was the hot item at Island Pet Source. (jesse holland Photography)

Christmas shopping is more than the bottom line

Retailers recount special holiday memories

Another Christmas season has come and gone and all the gifts that were so carefully wrapped have now been opened, evoking hoots of laughter from children and smiles of gratitude from holiday weary adults.

And though, at times, the holiday season can be trying, business owners on the West Shore emerged from their busiest season with great business outcomes and, perhaps more importantly, some great memories of special occurrences during the Christmas rush.

For Angela Soukoreff of Curvalicious Boutique, it was her first Christmas as the new owner and operator of the business.

She’d made a number of changes in the operation since taking over on New Year’s Eve last year – new branding, increasing consignors by 100 per cent, and a group of great community partners – but how the business would fare over Christmas was really unknown.

“We had a great year. We’re really still a niche market, but our attention to carrying Canadian made clothing was really appreciated by our customers who are increasingly concerned with where their products are being made. I call it intentional shopping,” Soukoreff said.

The business also experienced a bit of Christmas magic as donations from consignors helped Soukoreff partner with organizations like Soap for Hope and others who were all about sharing with those women in the community who just needed a helping hand.

“It’s about community building and sharing with those in need. We did well as a business, and I like to think we also managed to make a difference,” Soukoreff said.

RELATED: Saanich retailers say holiday season was strong

Over at Island Pet Source, owner/operator Michelle Pedro also reported a great Christmas season.

“It’s always a great time of year and it’s interesting what becomes a favourite item,” explained Pedro with a chuckle.

“This year it was Christmas sweaters for dogs. I think people have really gotten into the ugly Christmas sweater fun and wanted to include their little buddies in the fun. We sold out of sweaters … and also sold a lot of pet toys, hats and other gifts for people’s four legged friends.”

Carlene McDonald, marketing manager at Westshore Town Centre, reported the mall was a hub of activity for the holiday season as well. The 80 stores in the shopping centre all reported good sales and a lot of happy faces as shoppers were able to fill out their lists with that perfect gift for someone special.

“We had Santa and Mrs. Claus in the mall over Christmas, and maybe it was their special magic that kept the lights on in the mall even when much of the city lost power during the surprise snowstorm that Tuesday,” McDonald said.

Another high point for the season came when the mall gave away a two-year lease to a 2017 Hyundai Tucson SE FWD vehicle, plus $500 per year toward insurance, courtesy of Coast Capital Insurance. The winner was Erin Pugh, an elementary school teacher in Langford.

McDonald said the store owners and operators to whom she spoke were all happy with the season and virtually all of them had stories about that special customer they were able to help, and the smiles and good will that seemed to permeate the season.

“In the end, that’s what Christmas is really about,” she said.

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