August 22, 2019

Shoppers seek after-Christmas deals

ROCKLAND – After-Christmas bargain hunters were slowed early Friday by an overnight dusting of snow that made for slippery driving in the midcoast region.

As weather conditions improved, however, so did shopping conditions.

At the Farnsworth Art Museum gift store on Main Street, store associate Judy Angle said the shop was “moderately busy. Considering the weather, it hasn’t been too bad.”

Like many shops on Main Street and in the shopping plazas north of the downtown area, the museum store was offering drastic price cuts on Christmas-related items.

At Wal-Mart, close to a dozen people waited at 7 a.m. to get inside the store. They arrived empty-handed, interim store manager Greg Patterson said Friday, indicating the customers were there to shop rather than return or exchange items.

Business was “better than anticipated,” he said of the day-after-Christmas crowd. “Everybody’s looking for a bargain.”

Most of the shopping carts leaving the store had numerous rolls of holiday gift-wrapping paper sticking out from shopping bags.

Jane Newcomb of Owls Head had plenty to push when she came rolling out of Wal-Mart. Her shopping cart was chock-full of sale goodies: “A lot of wrapping paper, bows, gift tags and little trinkets,” she said. “Mostly, I came out for wrapping paper. I ran out this year.”

Newcomb also got lucky in finding a Christmas tree stand at more than half off the regular price, she said, noting her tree stand had broken last week.

Back on Main Street, Planet Toys was fairly quiet, with only a few returns and exchanges early in the day.

“There’s loads of gift certificates out there,” store manager Shani Watmough said – some 200 were sold before Christmas.

The most popular toy sold at Planet Toys this season was the Turbo Twister, she said, demonstrating a remote-control car with fat wheels that twist and turn and flip the vehicle over and over.

“I think every kid in Maine has one now,” Watmough said.

Across the street from Planet Toys, it was diamonds that attracted customers this holiday season, according to G.M. Pollack & Sons jewelry store manager Liz Twitchell.

“We had a phenomenal Christmas,” she said.

The best seller: “Diamonds, always,” Twitchell said. “Whether it’s necklaces or rings … it’s always diamonds.”

“We’ve been busy since we opened the door,” she said, when asked how business was doing the day after Christmas.

Customers were not only exchanging gifts, Twitchell said. Some were buying new trinkets, like one man who wanted to buy something special for a New Year’s gift.

At the Grasshopper Shop on Main Street, business was not quite as good last year, owner Carolyn May said, referring to before-Christmas sales at her store.

“People seemed to be more careful this year,” she said, and “spending a little less.”

“I think we were hit a little bit by the big-box stores,” May said. She mentioned the new T.J. Maxx ‘n More store at Harbor Plaza, which opened last month.

“Today, it’s really busy,” she said. “I think people are out looking for the bargains.”

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