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Businesses preparing for a busy holiday season

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Local businesses and shopping malls around West Virginia are getting ready for a busy holiday season between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Lisa McCracken, manager of the Town Center mall in Charleston, said the holidays have a "far-reaching impact, not just at any one location or certain shops and restaurants. This year, we saw holiday shopping kick off back in September. We have already had several strong Saturdays and weekends."

Steve Roberts, president of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, predicts business will be good this year.

"The economy appears to be improving. Retail sales are expected to be up over last year. Unemployment is dropping," Roberts said.

"I don't think we are looking at a Roaring '20s economy or a Roaring 1990s economy. But things are up over the past two or three years. People spend more in that kind of environment."

Blue Smoke Salsa and Homer Laughlin China

Robin Hildebrand, who owns Blue Smoke Salsa in Ansted, said, "Even when the economy has been weak in recent years, the holiday season has never failed us. People, especially folks from West Virginia, like buying West Virginia-made products for presents. It says something about the giver when you give local products.

"We are in the specialty food business and ship a lot of corporate gift baskets and individual baskets directly from Ansted. Each giver potentially supports eight to 10 West Virginia businesses. We ship all over the nation and internationally," Hildebrand said.

Blue Smoke's most popular basket is the Merry West Virginia Christmas Basket, with homemade chips and salsa and different kinds of jams, jellies and fudge.

"When you are not sure what to give to someone, remember that everybody eats. And all our foods are natural," Hildebrand said.

Homer Laughlin China Co., based in Newell, near Weirton in the Northern Panhandle, makes Fiestaware -- a wide variety of very colorful serving dishes, dinner plates, bowls and coffee cups.

Pat Shreve, Homer Laughlin's outlet manager, said, "We are made in the U.S. and very proud of it. That is one reason for our steady business. We see more and more people coming through our doors who say they want things 'Made in the USA.'

"Our products are very, very durable," Shreve said.

Homer Laughlin began in 1871. Fiestaware was first introduced in 1936.

Homer Laughlin ships products throughout the world.

"Today, we have 900 full-time employees with benefits," Shreve said. "We not only produce Fiestaware, but also have a food service line for hotels, restaurants, hospitals, universities and country clubs.

"When we sent Fiestaware to a nursing home recently, they told us the mixture of colors attracted their elderly residents, who came to the table and ate a lot more."

Local newspapers and Taylor Books

The holiday season will also have a big impact on newspapers and their advertising revenue.

On Thanksgiving, each Charleston Gazette and Charleston Daily Mail print edition will weigh about 3.5 pounds because they will be full of ads, including a 90-page booklet from Macy's, which has stores in Town Center mall and the Huntington Mall in Barboursville.

Ann Saville, who owns Taylor Books on Capitol Street in downtown Charleston, said holiday seasons help her business, which also has a coffee shop.

"If you shop locally, it makes a difference. We always get a good response during the holiday season.

"A lot of people home for the holidays get tired of being home and like to go out. So we get busy. We also sell arts and crafts, which make nice gifts. Our gallery sales jump way up during the holiday season," Saville said.

Taylor Books sells paintings, drawings, colorful glassware, artistic earrings, necklaces and other jewelry.

Kroger and Tamarack

Kroger grocery stores also are anticipating vibrant sales.

Carl York, advertising and public affairs manager for Kroger for its Mid-Atlantic region, said, "The holiday season is very important for our business. We do quite well.

"People tend to celebrate holidays around food. Families gather around food on their tables and enjoy each other. That puts Kroger front and center.

"We tend to have all our most loyal shoppers shop with us," York said loyal shoppers show up during the holiday season, but also "shoppers who do not ordinarily shop with us, looking for our variety, selection and freshness. We try to provide all they ever want and more.

"We also sell a lot of holiday dinners from our delis. These days, people don't cook as much or don't know how to cook.

Kroger's fuel business also picks up during the holidays.

"People are traveling. They need to stock up on food," York said. "They also need to fill up their cars."

York, who is based in Roanoke, Va., said Kroger stores also do a lot for local communities.

"We have the Salvation Army raising money outside our stores during the holidays. We do a lot with the food banks. We know people are hurting and they need help."

But Tamarack, the visitors' center just off the West Virginia Turnpike near Beckley, doesn't see its best business during the holidays.

Cheryl Hartley, Tamarack's general manager, said that July, August and October are typically her best months for customers.

"This week, instead of our best day being Black Friday, our best days will be Wednesday, when people are traveling to visit people here, and Saturday and Sunday, when they go back home. The same thing happens at Christmas time.

"We will have a big week between Christmas and New Year's Day, because people would have money from the gifts they receive.

"We had a wonderful December last year. Partly because of the warm weather, there were more people on the road. Our customers also appreciate products made in the U.S. and products that are handmade.

Tamarack buys from West Virginia artists because its mission is to support the West Virginia economy, Hartley said.

"Tamarack typically offers products from about 1,000 West Virginia artists, artisans, food producers and performers. We handle about 10,000 unique items. We will also be running a sale, because it is not our peak season."

Tamarack employs 140 people, who operate its retail store, food services and conference center, as well as the state Museum Shop in the Culture Center at the Capitol Complex in Charleston.

"We take in between $3.2 million and $4 million a year," Hartley said. "We are one of the largest purveyors of American crafts in the country."

Charleston Town Center

The Town Center stores are doing well early this year, in part because of recent storms, McCracken said.

"The snow we received as part of Hurricane Sandy helped. Anytime you get early snow, it reminds all of us [that] we can be hit by a snowstorm at the last minute. That would delay us from shopping or require us to go out in bad weather.

"The snow was good for retailers," McCracken said. "Last Saturday, our stores did extremely well. The mall was filled with shoppers.

"These days, we also eat out more than we eat at home. Town Center is also a dining destination and our restaurants do very well."

Most Town Center stores will open just after midnight on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Starbucks, on the ground floor, will open at 11 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.

"Midnight Madness shoppers might need caffeine," McCracken said. "Many people believe it is easier to stay up later on Thanksgiving Day, do shopping in the wee hours, then sleep late the next day.

"Midnight Madness sales will give great prices to the earliest shoppers. Several restaurants in the food court, as well as Panera Bread, will also be open."

The Town Center offers free gift-wrapping on all mall purchases from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Steve Roberts said that, "most retailers hold the view that holiday spending is driven by a combination of factors that include the length of the holiday season. Thanksgiving comes early this year, so there are more shopping days.

"How people feel about their personal economic situations is also important," Roberts said.

Economic factors this holiday season would seem to point toward more spending, he said.

"We know from national consumer confidence information that consumers are feeling better about the economy," Roberts said. "The unemployment rate, at least in West Virginia, is down and the number of hours people work is beginning to move up. All that puts more actual money in people's pockets."

Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjnyden@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Web

Was this story webbed earlier today?: NO

Headline: Businesses preparing for a busy holiday season   

Sections: News, Top stories

Publish Time: NOW

Web Dateline: CHARLESTON, W.Va. --

 

For Print

 

LAWRENCE PIERCE | Sunday Gazette-Mail

 

SHOPPER1.tif

@pcut:Starbucks Coffee will open at 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving evening to accommodate early Black Friday shoppers.

 

 

@by:By Paul J. Nyden

@cred:Staff writer

@bod:Local businesses and shopping malls around West Virginia are getting ready for a busy holiday season between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Lisa McCracken, manager of the Town Center mall in Charleston, said the holidays have a "far-reaching impact, not just at any one location or certain shops and restaurants. This year, we saw holiday shopping kick off back in September. We have already had several strong Saturdays and weekends."

Steve Roberts, president of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, predicts business will be good this year.

"The economy appears to be improving. Retail sales are expected to be up over last year. Unemployment is dropping," Roberts said.

"I don't think we are looking at a Roaring '20s economy or a Roaring 1990s economy. But things are up over the past two or three years. People spend more in that kind of environment."

@brfs:Blue Smoke Salsa and Homer Laughlin China

@bod:Robin Hildebrand, who owns Blue Smoke Salsa in Ansted, said, "Even when the economy has been weak in recent years, the holiday season has never failed us. People, especially folks from West Virginia, like buying West Virginia-made products for presents. It says something about the giver when you give local products.

"We are in the specialty food business and ship a lot of corporate gift baskets and individual baskets directly from Ansted. Each giver potentially supports eight to 10 West Virginia businesses. We ship all over the nation and internationally," Hildebrand said.

Blue Smoke's most popular basket is the Merry West Virginia Christmas Basket, with homemade chips and salsa and different kinds of jams, jellies and fudge.

"When you are not sure what to give to someone, remember that everybody eats. And all our foods are natural," Hildebrand said.

Homer Laughlin China Co., based in Newell, near Weirton in the Northern Panhandle, makes Fiestaware -- a wide variety of very colorful serving dishes, dinner plates, bowls and coffee cups.

Pat Shreve, Homer Laughlin's outlet manager, said, "We are made in the U.S. and very proud of it. That is one reason for our steady business. We see more and more people coming through our doors who say they want things 'Made in the USA.'

"Our products are very, very durable," Shreve said.

Homer Laughlin began in 1871. Fiestaware was first introduced in 1936.

Homer Laughlin ships products throughout the world.

"Today, we have 900 full-time employees with benefits," Shreve said. "We not only produce Fiestaware, but also have a food service line for hotels, restaurants, hospitals, universities and country clubs.

"When we sent Fiestaware to a nursing home recently, they told us the mixture of colors attracted their elderly residents, who came to the table and ate a lot more."

@brfs:Local newspapers and Taylor Books

@bod:The holiday season will also have a big impact on newspapers and their advertising revenue.

On Thanksgiving, each Charleston Gazette and Charleston Daily Mail print edition will weigh about 3.5 pounds because they will be full of ads, including a 90-page booklet from Macy's, which has stores in Town Center mall and the Huntington Mall in Barboursville.

Ann Saville, who owns Taylor Books on Capitol Street in downtown Charleston, said holiday seasons help her business, which also has a coffee shop.

"If you shop locally, it makes a difference. We always get a good response during the holiday season.

"A lot of people home for the holidays get tired of being home and like to go out. So we get busy. We also sell arts and crafts, which make nice gifts. Our gallery sales jump way up during the holiday season," Saville said.

Taylor Books sells paintings, drawings, colorful glassware, artistic earrings, necklaces and other jewelry.

@brfs:Kroger and Tamarack

@bod:Kroger grocery stores also are anticipating vibrant sales.

Carl York, advertising and public affairs manager for Kroger for its Mid-Atlantic region, said, "The holiday season is very important for our business. We do quite well.

"People tend to celebrate holidays around food. Families gather around food on their tables and enjoy each other. That puts Kroger front and center.

"We tend to have all our most loyal shoppers shop with us," York said loyal shoppers show up during the holiday season, but also "shoppers who do not ordinarily shop with us, looking for our variety, selection and freshness. We try to provide all they ever want and more.

"We also sell a lot of holiday dinners from our delis. These days, people don't cook as much or don't know how to cook.

Kroger's fuel business also picks up during the holidays.

"People are traveling. They need to stock up on food," York said. "They also need to fill up their cars."

York, who is based in Roanoke, Va., said Kroger stores also do a lot for local communities.

"We have the Salvation Army raising money outside our stores during the holidays. We do a lot with the food banks. We know people are hurting and they need help."

But Tamarack, the visitors' center just off the West Virginia Turnpike near Beckley, doesn't see its best business during the holidays.

Cheryl Hartley, Tamarack's general manager, said that July, August and October are typically her best months for customers.

"This week, instead of our best day being Black Friday, our best days will be Wednesday, when people are traveling to visit people here, and Saturday and Sunday, when they go back home. The same thing happens at Christmas time.

"We will have a big week between Christmas and New Year's Day, because people would have money from the gifts they receive.

"We had a wonderful December last year. Partly because of the warm weather, there were more people on the road. Our customers also appreciate products made in the U.S. and products that are handmade.

Tamarack buys from West Virginia artists because its mission is to support the West Virginia economy, Hartley said.

"Tamarack typically offers products from about 1,000 West Virginia artists, artisans, food producers and performers. We handle about 10,000 unique items. We will also be running a sale, because it is not our peak season."

Tamarack employs 140 people, who operate its retail store, food services and conference center, as well as the state Museum Shop in the Culture Center at the Capitol Complex in Charleston.

"We take in between $3.2 million and $4 million a year," Hartley said. "We are one of the largest purveyors of American crafts in the country."

@brfs:Charleston Town Center

@bod:The Town Center stores are doing well early this year, in part because of recent storms, McCracken said.

"The snow we received as part of Hurricane Sandy helped. Anytime you get early snow, it reminds all of us [that] we can be hit by a snowstorm at the last minute. That would delay us from shopping or require us to go out in bad weather.

"The snow was good for retailers," McCracken said. "Last Saturday, our stores did extremely well. The mall was filled with shoppers.

"These days, we also eat out more than we eat at home. Town Center is also a dining destination and our restaurants do very well."

Most Town Center stores will open just after midnight on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Starbucks, on the ground floor, will open at 11 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.

"Midnight Madness shoppers might need caffeine," McCracken said. "Many people believe it is easier to stay up later on Thanksgiving Day, do shopping in the wee hours, then sleep late the next day.

"Midnight Madness sales will give great prices to the earliest shoppers. Several restaurants in the food court, as well as Panera Bread, will also be open."

The Town Center offers free gift-wrapping on all mall purchases from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Steve Roberts said that, "most retailers hold the view that holiday spending is driven by a combination of factors that include the length of the holiday season. Thanksgiving comes early this year, so there are more shopping days.

"How people feel about their personal economic situations is also important," Roberts said.

Economic factors this holiday season would seem to point toward more spending, he said.

"We know from national consumer confidence information that consumers are feeling better about the economy," Roberts said. "The unemployment rate, at least in West Virginia, is down and the number of hours people work is beginning to move up. All that puts more actual money in people's pockets."

@tag:Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjnyden@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Web

Was this story webbed earlier today?: NO

Headline: Businesses preparing for a busy holiday season   

Sections: News, Top stories

Publish Time: NOW

Web Dateline: CHARLESTON, W.Va. --

 

For Print

 

LAWRENCE PIERCE | Sunday Gazette-Mail

 

SHOPPER1.tif

@pcut:Starbucks Coffee will open at 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving evening to accommodate early Black Friday shoppers.

 

 

@by:By Paul J. Nyden

@cred:Staff writer

@bod:Local businesses and shopping malls around West Virginia are getting ready for a busy holiday season between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Lisa McCracken, manager of the Town Center mall in Charleston, said the holidays have a "far-reaching impact, not just at any one location or certain shops and restaurants. This year, we saw holiday shopping kick off back in September. We have already had several strong Saturdays and weekends."

Steve Roberts, president of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, predicts business will be good this year.

"The economy appears to be improving. Retail sales are expected to be up over last year. Unemployment is dropping," Roberts said.

"I don't think we are looking at a Roaring '20s economy or a Roaring 1990s economy. But things are up over the past two or three years. People spend more in that kind of environment."

@brfs:Blue Smoke Salsa and Homer Laughlin China

@bod:Robin Hildebrand, who owns Blue Smoke Salsa in Ansted, said, "Even when the economy has been weak in recent years, the holiday season has never failed us. People, especially folks from West Virginia, like buying West Virginia-made products for presents. It says something about the giver when you give local products.

"We are in the specialty food business and ship a lot of corporate gift baskets and individual baskets directly from Ansted. Each giver potentially supports eight to 10 West Virginia businesses. We ship all over the nation and internationally," Hildebrand said.

Blue Smoke's most popular basket is the Merry West Virginia Christmas Basket, with homemade chips and salsa and different kinds of jams, jellies and fudge.

"When you are not sure what to give to someone, remember that everybody eats. And all our foods are natural," Hildebrand said.

Homer Laughlin China Co., based in Newell, near Weirton in the Northern Panhandle, makes Fiestaware -- a wide variety of very colorful serving dishes, dinner plates, bowls and coffee cups.

Pat Shreve, Homer Laughlin's outlet manager, said, "We are made in the U.S. and very proud of it. That is one reason for our steady business. We see more and more people coming through our doors who say they want things 'Made in the USA.'

"Our products are very, very durable," Shreve said.

Homer Laughlin began in 1871. Fiestaware was first introduced in 1936.

Homer Laughlin ships products throughout the world.

"Today, we have 900 full-time employees with benefits," Shreve said. "We not only produce Fiestaware, but also have a food service line for hotels, restaurants, hospitals, universities and country clubs.

"When we sent Fiestaware to a nursing home recently, they told us the mixture of colors attracted their elderly residents, who came to the table and ate a lot more."

@brfs:Local newspapers and Taylor Books

@bod:The holiday season will also have a big impact on newspapers and their advertising revenue.

On Thanksgiving, each Charleston Gazette and Charleston Daily Mail print edition will weigh about 3.5 pounds because they will be full of ads, including a 90-page booklet from Macy's, which has stores in Town Center mall and the Huntington Mall in Barboursville.

Ann Saville, who owns Taylor Books on Capitol Street in downtown Charleston, said holiday seasons help her business, which also has a coffee shop.

"If you shop locally, it makes a difference. We always get a good response during the holiday season.

"A lot of people home for the holidays get tired of being home and like to go out. So we get busy. We also sell arts and crafts, which make nice gifts. Our gallery sales jump way up during the holiday season," Saville said.

Taylor Books sells paintings, drawings, colorful glassware, artistic earrings, necklaces and other jewelry.

@brfs:Kroger and Tamarack

@bod:Kroger grocery stores also are anticipating vibrant sales.

Carl York, advertising and public affairs manager for Kroger for its Mid-Atlantic region, said, "The holiday season is very important for our business. We do quite well.

"People tend to celebrate holidays around food. Families gather around food on their tables and enjoy each other. That puts Kroger front and center.

"We tend to have all our most loyal shoppers shop with us," York said loyal shoppers show up during the holiday season, but also "shoppers who do not ordinarily shop with us, looking for our variety, selection and freshness. We try to provide all they ever want and more.

"We also sell a lot of holiday dinners from our delis. These days, people don't cook as much or don't know how to cook.

Kroger's fuel business also picks up during the holidays.

"People are traveling. They need to stock up on food," York said. "They also need to fill up their cars."

York, who is based in Roanoke, Va., said Kroger stores also do a lot for local communities.

"We have the Salvation Army raising money outside our stores during the holidays. We do a lot with the food banks. We know people are hurting and they need help."

But Tamarack, the visitors' center just off the West Virginia Turnpike near Beckley, doesn't see its best business during the holidays.

Cheryl Hartley, Tamarack's general manager, said that July, August and October are typically her best months for customers.

"This week, instead of our best day being Black Friday, our best days will be Wednesday, when people are traveling to visit people here, and Saturday and Sunday, when they go back home. The same thing happens at Christmas time.

"We will have a big week between Christmas and New Year's Day, because people would have money from the gifts they receive.

"We had a wonderful December last year. Partly because of the warm weather, there were more people on the road. Our customers also appreciate products made in the U.S. and products that are handmade.

Tamarack buys from West Virginia artists because its mission is to support the West Virginia economy, Hartley said.

"Tamarack typically offers products from about 1,000 West Virginia artists, artisans, food producers and performers. We handle about 10,000 unique items. We will also be running a sale, because it is not our peak season."

Tamarack employs 140 people, who operate its retail store, food services and conference center, as well as the state Museum Shop in the Culture Center at the Capitol Complex in Charleston.

"We take in between $3.2 million and $4 million a year," Hartley said. "We are one of the largest purveyors of American crafts in the country."

@brfs:Charleston Town Center

@bod:The Town Center stores are doing well early this year, in part because of recent storms, McCracken said.

"The snow we received as part of Hurricane Sandy helped. Anytime you get early snow, it reminds all of us [that] we can be hit by a snowstorm at the last minute. That would delay us from shopping or require us to go out in bad weather.

"The snow was good for retailers," McCracken said. "Last Saturday, our stores did extremely well. The mall was filled with shoppers.

"These days, we also eat out more than we eat at home. Town Center is also a dining destination and our restaurants do very well."

Most Town Center stores will open just after midnight on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Starbucks, on the ground floor, will open at 11 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.

"Midnight Madness shoppers might need caffeine," McCracken said. "Many people believe it is easier to stay up later on Thanksgiving Day, do shopping in the wee hours, then sleep late the next day.

"Midnight Madness sales will give great prices to the earliest shoppers. Several restaurants in the food court, as well as Panera Bread, will also be open."

The Town Center offers free gift-wrapping on all mall purchases from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Steve Roberts said that, "most retailers hold the view that holiday spending is driven by a combination of factors that include the length of the holiday season. Thanksgiving comes early this year, so there are more shopping days.

"How people feel about their personal economic situations is also important," Roberts said.

Economic factors this holiday season would seem to point toward more spending, he said.

"We know from national consumer confidence information that consumers are feeling better about the economy," Roberts said. "The unemployment rate, at least in West Virginia, is down and the number of hours people work is beginning to move up. All that puts more actual money in people's pockets."

@tag:Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjnyden@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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