Small shops reap Christmas business if they open on Sunday
It was the weekend before Christmas and merchants that were open Sunday saw a swell of business.
“This is the most successful day I’ve had so far since the day after Thanksgiving,” said Cara Cunningham, a sales person at Gold Works Gallery at the Carson Mall. “I’m busier today than I was yesterday. The two Sundays before Christmas are the only time I’m busy. The rest of the year I’m dead on Sunday.”
Sandi Bushman set a quota three times higher than usual for the Sunday before Christmas at the downtown Bushman Bookstore.
“We met our quota already,” she said at 1 p.m. “It’s a good day for us. Every day is better than the previous day in December so far.”
Bushman’s and Carson Jewelry and Loan were the only downtown retailers open Sunday. All the boutiques on Telegraph Street and inside the Mainstreet Atrium were closed, even though parking was hard to come by on Telegraph and Curry streets.
“It’s life or death,” said George Sapp, owner of Romantic Image at North Carson Street and Winnie Lane. “I can’t speak for all small businesses but if you want to do real well in the Christmas season, you’ll open as much as you can.”
Business at Romantic Image is three to four times the normal volume in December. The store, promoting itself with the slogan “try us on for sighs,” offers lingerie, gifts, swimsuits, sensual fashions, and bath and body products.
“People are probably buying more lingerie than anything else,” Sapp said.
Pokemon items are the big hit at Bushman’s Bookstore. The store opened as a bookstore with some beanie babies in December 1998, but now Pokemon products bring in half the revenue and books fill maybe a quarter of the store.
“I wanted just books,” Bushman said. “The books did not pay the rent.”
Bushman’s today has a certain Berkeley ambience, what with books, lotions, greeting cards, Beanie Bears, football bears and Pokemon cards and figures in the small store.
The store also has game tables where children for $5 can, and do, play all day.
“We’re amazed,” said Bushman, wearing a Joe Montana No. 16 jersey. “We keep bringing more stuff down and we keep selling it.”
Gold Works Gallery’s hot items this Christmas season are gold quartz settings and diamond bracelets, Cunningham said.
“It’s mostly men buying for wives, girlfriends, fiances, etc.,” Cunningham said. “Women are already done shopping.”