Bargain hunters unfazed by last Sunday's snow
A little snow and ice last weekend didn't deter some people from their holiday shopping.
"Saturday and Sunday were the best days to shop," said Marla Collins, 45, of Monroeville. "Hardly anyone was out, and there were no lines. I got all my shopping done that day, in less than two hours."
As the snow fell Saturday, tractors and plows began clearing and de-icing parking lots and roads for those unafraid to travel in the unfavorable conditions.
"They kept up with us," said Dan Grote, 38, of Clyde. "I was following a plow all the way here. I even waited so he could shovel me out a spot."
Rain turning to snow early Sunday morning fell on a line of shoppers determined to score a bargain at Best Buy.
Many stores in the mall missed their scheduled 7 a.m. opening hour, while a few remained closed for the day.
"I walked in here at 10 Saturday morning," said Shelia Rogers, 27, of Sandusky. "Almost half the stores had their doors locked up and security gates pulled down. It was almost noon before I saw a bunch of the store people running and unlocking their doors in a panic."
Store employees said most communities weren't ready for the storm, so streets and parking lots covered with ice and snow delayed them on their morning commute.
"I got here about half an hour late because my parking lot wasn't plowed, and a lot of the streets weren't either," said LIDS store manager Jordan Clark. "There weren't as many people here, but we did decent business-wise. We just got Sunday's traffic Monday night, so things evened out."
Borders manager Joan Kantor said the weather affects business, but people know their shopping days are numbered and will get out to do it, no matter what the weather brings.
"We still had quite a few customers," she said. "It was a slow day, but the shoppers who were here found it easier to shop and easier to find employees to help them."
According to the National Retail Federation Web site, surveys predict a 4 percent increase in consumer spending this year and anticipate $474.5 billion in retail revenue. NRF Chief Economist Rosalind Wells said retailers are in for a more challenging holiday season -- not because of bad weather, but because the average consumer is facing numerous obstacles at home.
"With the weak housing market and current credit crunch, consumers will be forced to be more prudent with their holiday spending," she said.
Stores in the area indicate consumer spending is about the same as in previous years, but confirm their patrons have gotten a slower start.
Clark said he thinks most families hold out until the very last minute, hoping for expensive items to go on sale.
"There are more last-minute shoppers this year," he said. "It's because the economy has gotten so bad people just can't afford it."
Kantor said the weekend before Christmas is always busy, but she doesn't think it'll be any busier than in years past.
"We're busy every year at this time," she said. "We have our busy days and our slow days, but it all evens out."