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Business-owners: Shoppers are out for that last-minute gift

December 22, 2018

Local shop owners say business has picked up this holiday season and they expect many more last-minute shoppers to wade through their wares before Christmas Day.

“In the last two days in a row, a lot of last-minute shoppers showed up,” Somerset Young Heart Books and Toys co-owner Jeff Masterson said on Friday. “Tomorrow is the biggest rush.”

Many Christmas shoppers forgot their stocking-stuffers or extended family members, Masterson said.

“Generally speaking, a lot of folks coming in have a list they’re checking off. They missed this person, that person, that person and they’re piling things up on the counter,” he said.

The last Saturday before Christmas is a shopping day that rivals Black Friday, however, Small Business Saturday is the best day of the year, according to Masterson.

“That day was one where I didn’t sit down,” he said. “We were open late that day and I did not sit down for a good 10 hours. It was incredible.”

The number of shoppers has surprised Sheri Speigle as well. Speigle is the manager at the World’s Attic in Somerset.

“We had a lot of shoppers the past couple days,” she said. She attributed the tide of Yuletide customers to all of the free Christmas items at the World’s Attic.

“I don’t want to store Christmas items from one year to the next,” Speigle said. “And so many people are thanking me. We had a few that lost everything because they had a fire or lost their job. It’s really helped get their Christmas tree stuff.”

Speigle’s shop has been flooded with customers all month, she said.

“I think we did really well,” she said. “It’s because we’re so cheap. Cheaper than any other thrift store around, and good quality, too.”

The World’s Attic also donates clothes and other items to those who need help, such as former inmates. Proceeds also benefit disaster-impacted areas through the Mennonite Disaster Service.

“They donated to us, so I want to give back,” Speigle said. “We’re here for the ministry, not to make money.”

“That’s what Jesus did and what we’re trying to do.”

In Meyersdale, F.B. Thomas Drug Store is also receiving a consistent flow of customers, according to owner Andrew Thomas.

“I think, normally, we have a nice little end of the year, Christmas season push,” he said. “I think a lot of times they’re getting the last one or two items and finishing up their shopping season.”

“We’re lucky to have our faithful following. We definitely appreciate everyone coming through the door.”

One of the drug store’s most popular sales is the Kodak machine that prints photos, Thomas said.

“They get their pictures off their cameras for calendars and stuff like that,” he said. “They’re making stuff for their parents or whatever.”

Masterson said that items such as puzzles, books and games are becoming more popular at Young Heart Books and Toys.

“There’s a lot of folks looking for things that are educationally related,” he said. “That’s the first thing, then the second thing is a lot of books for kids — books that are challenging for kids to read.”

“It’s also interesting that puzzles are making a comeback. We’re way down in puzzles now,” he said. “More people are buying things that don’t require batteries. That makes me feel good.

“They’re working with another person on something directly, not with their thumbs across the universe.”

“I’m hoping it’s a vanguard of a trend.”

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