Shopping season was a gift for merchants

Brisk sales and happy customers marked the Christmas shopping season in Hinsdale this year, several merchants agreed.

“It was fantastic, excellent, great,” said Jim Loufman, who owns King Keyser Ski and Bicycle with Rick Johnson. “A lot of people wanted to get out and recreate. It seemed there was generous gift giving.”

The fact that King Keyser is one of only a handful of ski shops coupled with heavy snowfall in Colorado, Utah and Montana resorts has kept customers coming into the shop.

“We were full throttle, starting Thanksgiving to even yesterday,” Loufman said Wednesday. “It’s been really good for us.”

Even Alpine Valley, a favorite nearby ski spot for Loufman, has been open since right after Thanksgiving.

Equipment — skis, boots, poles and bindings — has been selling especially well. So has an item associated with warmer weather.

“We’ve sold a couple of Christmas bikes, too,” Loufman said.

Having knowledgeable employees, having a full staff and offering customers complimentary boxes and gift wrapping makes a difference, he said.

Sales at Yankee Peddler also have been strong since Thanksgiving, owner Stacy Lorin said. The shop has many local customers and also had many willing to make the drive to Hinsdale from the city.

“We really reached a lot of Chicago customers, which was wonderful to bring to our village,” she said.

Home decor items were the first to sell, then hostess gifts and party supplies once holiday parties began.

“People were really entertaining,” she said. “People were feeling good about the holidays and life in general and celebrating again.”

The bitter cold and wind on Dec. 23 was not ideal, she acknowledged.

“The true and die-hard shoppers that need to get out in those temperatures, they came,” Lorin said. “We’re so, so grateful for our loyal customer base.”

Razny Jewelers also had a great season, with diamond studs and diamond bracelets as the most popular gifts, said store manager Stephanie Herman. Engagement rings are big sellers as well.

“If it’s not for now, it’s leading up to people getting engaged on New Year’s,” she said. “It not just Christmas. It’s this time of year, people feel the love.”

The store didn’t see its busiest week until close to Dec. 25.

“We definitely see the most shoppers the week of Christmas, and I think that’s just the luxury of being in a downtown setting,” Herman said. “People know they can wait and come in and still find something the week of Christmas.”

Annette Brinkmeier, owner of Stockholm Objects, said she heard this year and last that people are really trying to shop local.

“They appreciate the variety of the shops in town,” she said. “They can pretty much do their entire Christmas shopping in town. The new parking also is very much appreciated in town. I think that has really contributed to people enjoying coming to town more.”

SO noticed an uptick in sales shortly after Halloween.

“It always starts pretty early in the beginning of November and it did again this year,” Brinkmeier said. “We had a pretty good November and people definitely started early asking for the gift wrapping, so we know they are holiday shopping.”

Last-minute shoppers missed out Dec. 23, when the store was closed due to the bad weather.

“Christmas Eve we really got the last-minute shoppers,” she said. “We also see the same customer coming back several times. It’s not like they buy everything at the same time.

“We also see that they go to the other stores, and they make their rounds and then they go back to where they saw something that they think is right.”

She said the fall Wine Walk and the Christmas Walk help remind people of the stores in town and what they have to offer.

“We’re really thankful for the town and for our customers,” she said.

Author Bio

Author photo

Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean