Local merchants reporting brisk Christmas business

With only a couple of more days left for Christmas shopping, some downtown merchants are reporting good to excellent business this holiday season.
“Busy” is the key word according to Bob Green of Green’s Countrywide Furniture and Appliances, who talked a little about the holiday shopping season this morning at the same time as he was putting a table together.
“We have two delivery trucks going steady from now until Christmas Eve,” he said, noting the store also will be open until 8 p.m.
today and Tuesday, and then until 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
“It seems like everything is going—appliances, lots of ranges, furniture, mini-stereos,” added Green, mentioning he’s very glad Green’s could find some students home from school to help out with the Christmas rush.
“We’re happy,” echoed Sight & Sound owner Jim Jackson.
“We have three big days for business coming up here. We’re open until about 2 p.m. on Wednesday [Dec. 24].
“And between Christmas and New Year’s, we’re usually pretty busy, too,” he added, noting the store doesn’t get many returns, but people often drop by to buy for themselves what they maybe didn’t get on their wish lists.
Jackson said the hot items at Sight & Sound this year have been big screen TVs, flat-screen TVs, digital cameras, and musical instruments.
“The musical instruments have gone very well,” he remarked. “We underestimated the demand for guitars and drums.
“It’s great that they’re that popular, but at the same time, it’s disappointing if we don’t have what someone wants. It’s all part of the game,” he reasoned.
“It’s been very steady, very good,” said Pearl Pidlubny at Howarth’s Home Centre.
“DVD [players and discs] have been a very big seller. And karaoke machines have been popular,” she remarked, adding electronic toys have sold so well the store’s selection has almost been depleted.
Like many other downtown businesses, Howarth’s is staying open late (until 9 p.m.) today and tomorrow, and then until 3 p.m.
on Christmas Eve.
Russ Ling of Taggs Source for Sports agreed that “everything” is selling.
“There’s a couple of days left, but it’s already been going great. I know that with the sports clothing, the sizes have been getting a beating.
You’ll might only find a couple smalls on the racks,” he said, noting hockey gear has been a “hot” seller, too.
Ling, who also chairs the Business Improvement Associ-ation, noted “there’s been a lot more traffic” in the downtown area in the past week, and said the only thing that would make the season better would be a little more snow to boost shoppers’ Christmas spirit even more.
But with all the rush, has Ling got his shopping done? “It’s getting there. But with the store, we tend to make sure everybody else’s shopping needs are met first,” he remarked.
Marla Thomson, branch manager of the Northern Lights Credit Union here, said she was pleased to see about the same number of people used the credit union’s Christmas loan program as last year—between 50-100.
“We had some people who wanted to make some rather large purchases,” she remarked, noting loan amounts ranged from $1,000-$10,000 on approved credit, with up to a 36-month amortization period.
The credit union offered loans at a special interest rate of 7.5 percent— about 10 percent lower than many credit cards.
She stressed, however, that far too many people are still using their credit cards during the holiday shopping season, and she expects to see some folks come into the credit union in January regretting they didn’t get a Christmas loan.