"In December, when everyone is selling down, they want to sell out of everything. We keep our stores full because there's just as many birthdays in January as there are in any other month," Strick said. "We don't want to sell down in the busiest month of the year."
The store does promote its more holiday-themed items like Halloween costumes, Santa hats and snowmen toys when the time is right. Strick said.
"We don't like to put it out way in advance like the big guys," he said. "We got it in now but we said we're not going to take up shelf space up now because it's going to sit."
After 30 years of business, Strick said, he's learned that customers mostly buy two to three weeks before the holiday. The store will put its holiday items out about four weeks before Christmas.
"Our stores are small and we don't have a lot of room, so we have to watch when we put things out," Strick added.
The CVS store in Kanawha City is still in Halloween mode, but will bring out its Christmas items in two to three weeks, said Kristy Kinder, a supervisor at the store.
This year's prime holiday shopping between Thanksgiving and Christmas will be one of the shortest in recent years. Thanksgiving is set for Nov 28, leaving just 25 shopping days until Christmas Eve.
Barbara Ellis, owner of the Mole Hole in the Shops at Trace Fork, looks to her customers to help her determine when to bring holiday items out. She waits to hear about holiday items her customers are interested in and cannot find anywhere else or if customers ask when holiday items will be out.
"At the same time I'm kind of torn because I like for there to be a fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving -- but unfortunately, now it is meshing together," Ellis said. "So you go from August pretty much into Christmas."
Ellis said there is a lot that goes into a window display. The Mole Hole's larger window creates a challenge when choosing with size items to display. Ellis said with large items displayed no one can see inside the store but if you have tiny items they become dwarfed. The sun fading items is also a concern.
"We try to set ourselves apart, just like, 'hey, look at us' because we're on our own little island here just the two of us -- Oasis Spa and the Mole Hole," she said.
When purchasing holiday items or working on displays, Ellis is mindful not to duplicate what national retailers Target, Pier One and Home Goods are doing just across the street.
But overall, Ellis tries not to rush the holidays. From her experience, early holiday themes and items are a customer turnoff.
"It's one more indication that the year is flying by," she said. "[People think] oh dear, I've got to start Christmas shopping, I've got to think about who I've got to purchase for and how much I have to spend."Reach Caitlin Cook at caitlin.c...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.