One last thing

Published 4:58 pm Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Last-minute shoppers were out in full force early this week, having been thwarted on a usual major shopping day by bad weather.

“Saturday was slow compared to our usual Saturday before Christmas,” said Bruce Bowles, owner of D.B. Bowles Jewelers on North Main Street. “The weather may have affected that somewhat.”

The Saturday before Christmas is typically the biggest shopping day of the year for retailers, but winter weather forecast for Saturday kept many people at home.

Shoppers on Monday, however, made up for it, Bowles said.

Bowles said he has been doing brisk business in watches, sterling silver and colored stones, but diamonds are down from last year.

“We haven’t been seeing the big-ticket items we usually see,” Bowles said. “They’re looking for lower-priced things in the $100 to $200 range.”

Next door, the weather has been affecting sales at Denison’s for the better.

“People are buying coats this week, because it’s so cold,” said Celia Strickland, the store manager. “We had a terrific last week and a terrific this week.”

Some people, however, were shopping at the last minute, because they waited until school was over for the semester before going shopping. University of Virginia student Sara Morrow purchased a piece of jewelry for a relative at Belk Tuesday.

“I bought one earlier but I got a better deal here,” she said after leaving the store Tuesday.

Betty Milteer also shopped at Belk on Tuesday, picking up a jogging suit and ladies’ sweaters for friends and relatives.

Store owners said it is encouraging to see shoppers buying things, even if they are not buying as much as in years past.

“Overall, it’s been a good year,” Strickland said. “They’re not buying as much, but they’re still buying.”

Strickland said she has been encouraged by the number of new customers.

“We got a lot of new people this year,” Strickland said. “Hopefully, it’s going to be better next year.”