Shopping season arriving for local stores
EAGLE COUNTY — In many stores across the country, some of the busiest shopping days of the holiday season have come and gone. In the Vail Valley, many local retailers are just entering into the busiest time of the year.
While national trends show that the busiest shopping days are Black Friday and the weekend before Christmas, Eagle County’s shops are on a different schedule. Last minute shopping seems to reign supreme among local shoppers — not necessarily because of procrastination, but because the most people are in town the few days preceding Christmas through New Year’s.
“The busiest time of year for shopping is also the busiest time for Vail,” said Jenn Bruno, of Luca Bruno in Vail Village. “The day after Christmas through Jan. 3 is very busy for us. We just started getting busy this past weekend, which coincided with the hotels starting to fill up.”
Bruno said she finds many vacationers and second homeowners are choosing to arrive in town and shop for gifts right before Christmas instead of traveling with their gifts.
“For a lot of our guests, shopping is part of the experience, and they look forward to coming to all the different stores to see what’s new,” Bruno said.
Making a list
In The Riverwalk at Edwards, Valley Girl Boutique was bustling with shoppers the Monday before Christmas, and owner Sandy Helt said she expects the busiest days are still to come. Christmas Eve and New Year’s seem to be the biggest shopper days, she said.
“We tend to get busier each day up until Christmas,” she said. “A lot of people arrive in town and come out for additional gifts. We see a lot of men come in last minute for jewelry. We see some locals trickle in during early December, but it really doesn’t pick up until the week of Christmas.”
Sales staff said that the store’s wide range of jewelry, which range from items under $20 to hundreds of dollars, are very popular gift items, as are items such as cozy sweaters and trendy fringe boots.
Susan Bristol, co-owner of Asian Village in The Riverwalk, said that foot traffic had been slow in the Asian antiques, jewelry and gifts store. However, she said that doesn’t surprise her. General shopping trends don’t seem to apply in the Vail area, where tourism and the holidays change people’s buying habits, she said.
“(When we get busy) depends on when Christmas falls and when people start coming to town,” said Bristol. “It’s usually slow right up until Christmas, and then after Christmas is very busy. I think it’s second homeowners and visitors, as well as locals who now have some time off, all coming out for some shopping. I’ve been in retail 25 years, and it’s always been that way here.”
New arrivals in Avon
Several Avon stores are newcomers to the valley, or existing businesses that have recently relocated, drawn by Avon’s downtown revitalization efforts.
Haute Route has been open next to Pazzo’s since the summer months and is now entering its first winter season. The store specializes in trail running and ski mountaineering apparel and equipment.
“It takes some time to built the clientele, but we’ve already had some ski-mo enthusiasts come in, looking for specific brands such as Hagan backcountry skis or brands like Icebreaker and Millet,” said owner Dan Brewster.
His top picks for hot gifts include the new Suunto Ambit 3 mountaineering watch, a lightweight ski mountaineering pack, or if you really love someone, a Tour Pro Package — skis, bindings and boots with 15 percent off the entire purchase.
“Now with the recent snow, I expect we’ll see avy equipment like beacons start to go,” Brewster said.
P. Furniture and Design relocated this year from the Eagle-Vail business area to Avon’s downtown. P. Furniture’s Sarah Meehan said that while the store doesn’t see as much traffic for Christmas gift shopping, the shop’s designers are busy decorating and delivering furniture to homes in time for the holidays.
“We get a lot of orders in before Thanksgiving, and they arrive around this time,” she said. “It’s a busy time for getting people’s new furniture set up before they arrive for Christmas.”
Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @mwongvail.