Shoppers make the most of their last-chance holiday shopping |

Shoppers make the most of their last-chance holiday shopping

South Shore and out-of-town procrastinators made the most out of their last chance to purchase Christmas gifts, stocking stuffers and festive holiday wrap.

Sunday was a big day for some Tahoe specialty shops, but it was stores like Kmart and Rite Aid that really felt the last minute rush.

“We opened at 8 a.m. and we already had people outside waiting to shop,” said Richard Bennett, store manager at Rite Aid. “We’ve had at least a few hundred customers already this morning. Most people are picking up last minute wrap and bows. The tourists are mainly buying all the snow bibs and gloves and that kind of stuff.”

Bennett said artificial Christmas trees were in high demand over the weekend.

“We had a very large assortment of artificial trees, but we sold out early,” he said. “But we still have a lot of product and we’re focusing on customer service. The holidays are a really fun time of year for us and our No. 1 focus on our store for the last three days has been giving the best customer service we can.”

By 10 a.m., Kmart was packed with Santa’s little putter-offers, scurrying about frantically, snatching up bags of candy and other such treats.

Business was booming for popular gift shops at Crescent V and Ski Run Marina, but for some stores at the Y, it was just another quiet Sunday.

“This season has been really slow,” said Jacki Sidenbender, assistant manager at the Oneida Factory Store. “We’re not doing last year’s figures and it has been really dead here.”

Sidenbender said much of Oneida’s holiday business is due to visiting patrons.

“We haven’t had many customers but we haven’t gotten any snow,” she said. “It’s been pretty dry this season and right now there’s nothing really going on in town, so maybe that’s why it’s so slow.”

The final weekend before Ol’ St. Nick’s arrival was a bit more active for the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, also located at the Y.

“Business has been really strong all week long,” Rocky Mountain Owner Ann Adams said. “I don’t sense a frenzy. We were real busy Friday, real busy Saturday, but I think people planned pretty well this year.”

The candy shop’s store-made fudge and “apple pie apples” were big hits this year, according to Adams.

“At Christmas time, fudge is always a big seller,” she said. “Our apple pie apple is a big seller. It’s a carmel apple with white chocolate, brown sugar and cinnamon. It’s delicious.”

Cassie Patten, manager at Cabin Fever in the Ski Run Marina shopping center, said candles were the most popular last minute purchase item. She also offered some insight into the mentality of last minute shoppers.

“I think sometimes people get the last minute gifts because people give them a gift and they kind of feel obligated,” she said. “But sometimes, people are just waiting for sales to come up, too. I think a lot of people wait until the last minute to get their shopping done because there are better sales the day before and the day of.”

Sports LTD Manager Dickson Brown said the parking lot at Crescent V was full all weekend.

“It’s quite busy around here,” he said. “People are buying more spontaneous things today, hats, gloves, sweaters. The days leading up to this have been the days when we’ve been doing the higher ticket item sales. Now it’s more the convenience items.”

Brown said late shopping craze is welcomed – and expected.

“It’s human nature, procrastination,” he said. “People are busy and have a lot of things to do or they are just not taking the time to do it. People just procrastinate. If there wasn’t this deadline for Christmas, they’d probably keep waiting.”

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