Last shopping weekend before Christmas is busy, but consumers not troublesome for businesses

Posted on Dec. 21, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.

GOSHEN — Shoppers piled into Concord Mall on a rainy Saturday, Dec. 21, hoping to finish crossing off their gift lists just days before Christmas.

Despite this being the last shopping weekend before the holiday, it hasn’t caused much trouble for shoppers or retailers.

While busy, many store officials said they’re seeing well-behaved consumers, even though they are out during the last precious few days of the shopping season.

At Concord Mall, Jon Mumford, owner of Mummphy’s Book Nook, said a busy day was helping him close out a very successful month.

“I’m probably up, in the last three days, about 20 to 25 percent over last year,” he said. “It’s been busy, people have picked up their steps.”

“They’re shopping quicker, you know what I mean?”

Mumford said that though this was the last weekend of shopping before the holiday, he hadn’t noticed any problems among shoppers. He also doesn’t think the shorter shopping season in general has caused too many issues.

“I thought of that; there are fewer shopping days between Black Friday and Christmas,” he said, “so I don’t see any difference.”

Mumford’s observations were reiterated by Carl Deischer, the mall’s sergeant of security.

Deischer said Saturday was busy, but that the entire shopping season had been “quiet” and Saturday had not been an aberration.

“Things are running smooth,” he said. “People seem to be polite, haven’t had any disturbances.”

“It seems to be a more relaxed atmosphere,” Deischer said.

In Goshen, store officials felt much the same way.

“It’s been very busy,” Ten Thousand Villages manager Elizabeth Dragoo said. “We have all the last-minute shoppers in here, in spite of the rain.”

Some of the calmness among shoppers can be attributed to atmosphere, she said.

“Nobody’s pushing each other around, knocking each other down to get to stuff,” she said

“It’s very hard to be stressed in our store,” Dragoo said. “In spite of the shorter season, this is still a place where you can’t be angry,” she laughed.

Steve Martin, owner of Ignition Music, echoed Dragoo’s thoughts.

He said that though some of his customers seemed to be in a bit of a panic on arriving, most seemed to calm when entering the store.

“It’s almost like they get here and relax,” he said, “and I think it’s partially the effect of this room as opposed to big-box.”

In a bit of fun, Ignition advertised a “Procrastinator’s Sale” on its Facebook page the past few days.

Whether it was the sale or just last-minute shopping in general, Martin said he’d had a big boost in the last several days.

“The last three days have been almost more than I can handle,” he said. “I tried to do it basically by myself and I told my wife last night, ‘This will be the last Christmas that I’m going to have only two people in the store the last week.’”

Martin said an extremely busy few days had been accentuated by first-time visitors to the store, as well as many shoppers from outside his typical area.

The relatively well-behaved shopping may in part be attributed to the fact that there are still days to shop early this week, Mumford said.

“I do appreciate having the extra day this year,” he said.

Martin said he’ll be open Monday and Tuesday next week.

“This is only my second Christmas and so it’s really hard to know what to expect,” he said. But, he added, “I did business right up until close on Christmas Eve last year.”

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