Holiday shoppers take interest in new mall | AspenTimes.com

Holiday shoppers take interest in new mall

April E. ClarkGlenwood Springs correspondent

For Erika and Christian Watkins, day-after-Thanksgiving shopping means picking out new Christmas tree ornaments at The Picket Fence gift shop in New Castle. (Kelley Cox/ Glenwood Springs Post Independent)

As Glenwood Meadows opened its newest store on one of the nation’s busiest shopping days of the year, Monee Rochelle was making a debut of her own.”I just want to thank customers from True Value,” said Rochelle, assistant manager at the Meadow’s new Pier 1 Imports and buyer/manager for the soon-to-close hardware store for the past three-years. “It’s not that much different. I think this will be a little less nerve-wracking.”Rochelle, a mother of three who faced possible unemployment during the holidays before starting her managerial position at Pier 1 last week, said she chose the home furnishing store for its commitment to the community.”I think at first there was a lot of negativity out there about Meadows, but people have seen the positive impact it has had. Especially with Pier 1 – what they do for the world and the community, like their UNICEF holiday cards,” Rochelle said. “It’s going to be an adjustment for everyone, I think, but I think Pier 1 is going to be very positive in the community.”

On Friday, the community’s shoppers showed their appreciation – and anticipation – of the store’s opening by waiting outside before doors opened at 8 a.m.”It’s been steady and busy,” said store manager Kirby Bannister as she tended to the cash register with a seamstress measuring tape draped around her neck.Bannister, who moved to Glenwood Springs after working at Pier 1 stores in Denver and Colorado Springs, said customers were mostly shopping for holiday items. This week, the National Retail Federation predicted holiday growth will average around 6 percent in 2005.”They’re buying a lot of candles and anything Christmas,” Bannister said.

Patty Barsness, of Glenwood, Minn., stopped in Pier 1 on Friday with her son, Chad Barsness, his wife, Jennifer, and their children to shop for Christmas.”Pier 1 is always good to see – we have one about an hour away from us,” said Patty, who was visiting her son, who runs the Barsness Law Firm in Carbondale, and his family for Thanksgiving. “If I can Christmas shop here, then I don’t have to pack it. Plus if I can browse with my daughter-in-law, then I can see what she wants. So far it’s all been eye candy.”In downtown Glenwood Springs, Interiors A La Carte experienced a similar rush of holiday shoppers on what the International Council of Shopping Centers reports is no longer the busiest shopping day of the year. According to the council, the busiest shopping day in 2004 was Saturday, Dec. 18.”It’s been a nonstop, steady, and just a wonderful day,” Interiors A La Carte clerk Kay Thompson said. “It has not been chaotic, but we’ve had lots and lots of people.”

Thompson said she was pleased to see people buying a little something of everything Friday.”I’ve sold rugs, lots of rugs, and artificial flowers, candles, soaps, some books, frames and prints.”Although many Meadows stores and Glenwood box stores offered sale prices and early hours, Thompson said her store remained busy throughout the day.”[Meadows] has not affected us at the least,” she said. “Most of our customers are out-of-town visitors, and they don’t want to go to Pier 1. Plus we have a lot of locals shopping with their families. They’re shopping downtown.”

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