The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

November 9, 2012

Businesses prepared for holiday shopping rush

By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — MEDINA — In the floral business, the months of September and October are the slow times, when a dearth of weddings and the focus on back-to-school spending put the focus elsewhere.

That quickly turns around in November, when the holiday shopping rush can be overwhelming.

In the basement of Creekside Floral and Design, owner/designer Mary Lewis has stockpiled the artificial elements for wreaths, centerpieces and other holiday arrangements. Additional fresh items are delivered almost daily, as the seasons and moods change, gifts like poinsettias and boxwoods become more prevalent.

Creekside is one of a number of businesses hosting open houses this weekend to spur early interest in Christmastime purchases. Lewis’ event is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday; she expects to draw in more than 200 customers on a day that the business is normally closed.

From there, the season speeds up.

“People love it, even on the years when it’s 60 degrees outside,” Lewis said. “Once Dec. 1 hits it’s non-stop.”

Lewis said she has been preparing for the Christmas shopping crush since August, although this year’s additions began arriving a month earlier. The pre-Christmas period is so crucial that she orders her supplies in January to ensure they’ll be there when it counts, even if that means it’s Christmas in July in the storage space beneath her Main Street storefront.

”Christmas is about 25 percent of my business,” Lewis said. “Our number one holiday is Valentines Day, but that’s all on two days — this is a month and a half.”

The same is true across the downtown business district at Apple Blossom Florist. Business owner Lisa Trippensee, who is holding open houses on Friday night, Saturday and Sunday; described November and December as “make or break” months.

”We start two months in advance, assembling everything before bringing it out this week,” Trippensee said. “We need to create a ‘wow factor’ to get our customers in the mood, inspire them to decorate their houses.”

The Apple Blossom open houses will feature a set-up by the Barker Chocolate Box, which has already seen a rush of gifting — no one says gifts can’t be immediately enjoyed — at its new storefront at the Main Place Mall in Buffalo, which opened in October.

Cindy Jex, who has invested in the Corky’s Building as the site for a future storefront in Medina, said the mini-pies, cheesecakes and fudge she’ll have at Apple Blossom have proven to be very popular — and time consuming.

”It’s been a busy couple of weeks,” Jex said. “I’m going to try to get away for a few days to see my grandson, then it’s back to work.” 

For early-bird Christmas shoppers, there’s an avalanche of shopping opportunities this weekend in western Orleans County. July Fenton’s “Between the Vines” Home Show kicks off two weeks of craft sales on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; the Country Holiday Craft Show takes over the Trolley Building at the Orleans County Fairgrounds from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; and the East Shelby Fire Company is hosting their 16th Annual Craft Show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.