Unique items can be found at Santa's Gift Village - but few kids

Photos by BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Treavor Mofle, 5, of Dayton, tells Santa Claus what he wants for Christmas at a craft fair Saturday at the Southgate Shopping Center.

Photos by BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Treavor Mofle, 5, of Dayton, tells Santa Claus what he wants for Christmas at a craft fair Saturday at the Southgate Shopping Center.

One of a kid's biggest concerns at Christmas time is the thought that Santa might not come.

The reverse is true as well, as a businesswoman and local Santa found out Saturday. What happens when Santa shows up but the kids don't?

By noon on Saturday few children had stopped by, and owner Robin Runzel busied herself selling Christmas crafts and gifts to adult shoppers.

Runzel set up Santa's Gift Village, a store in the Southgate Shopping Center that offers space to rent for vendors and she handles the sales for them. She said about 40 vendors have rented space, though some took the Thanksgiving weekend off to spend with their families.

"My very first customer today was lost," she said with a laugh. "He was looking for the Fandango employment offices. But he bought something."

Santa Claus, AKA Adam Runzel, Robin's son, said it would get busier as it gets closer to Christmas.

The WNC computer science student said he enjoys playing jolly old St. Nick.

"It's fun, though sometimes you get kids too scared to get in my lap," he said. "Parents want the picture and some force the child to get in my lap."

Robin Runzel said later Saturday afternoon parents started bringing children by, and the shoppers converged on the store.

Teresa Tussey, of Carson City, was looking for something unique.

"I used to make a lot of my Christmas gifts and I haven't lately," she said. "My husband is in a wheelchair and I don't have time to sew."

Her son and his girlfriend, visiting from Southern California, found some items to their liking, but Tussey said she'll come back on Monday when more vendors are on hand.

Runzel opened on Black Friday and said they had a very good day at the store, which used to be a pet shop and has sat empty for about three years.

The place will soon host dance classes, including country line dancing, jazz dancing and ballroom dancing, she said.

"After Christmas it will be turned into Rockin' Robin's Bazaar," she said, with space for rent for crafters.

About 15 spaces were utilized at the village Saturday, selling everything from figurines, candles garden stakes and rubber duckies - the latest collectors craze, Runzel said.

There were Gucci handbag knockoffs, scarves, capes and other clothing, jewelry, blankets, parasols, T-shirts and landscape photography. Prices ranged from $2 to about $100 for items.

"It's very moderate, very affordable," she said. "Lots of stocking stuffers."

Right now, she said, a 10-foot-by-10-foot space costs $800, but will drop to $400 after the holidays.

Runzel's still working hard to give it that Christmas flair by creating a huge Christmas stocking.

"We will give away Carson City's largest stocking, filled with a gift from each vendor," she said.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or 881-7351.

If You Go

WHAT: Santa's Gift Village

WHEN: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily; Santa's hours are 3-7 p.m. Fridays; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sat.-Sun.

WHERE: Southgate Shopping Center, 4183 S. Carson St., Carson City

CALL: 224-5536


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