Ho-ho-holiday shopping takes off

Virginia Garcia, center, compares two Bratz dolls with her son Thomas, 14, while she shops for her grandchildren Friday morning at K B toys in the North Plains Mall. Vickie Winters, left, also shops for Bratz dolls. CNJ photo: Eric Kluth

By Darrell Todd Maurina

Large business or small, locally-owned or chain-managed, newly-opened or a community fixture for decades — none of that seemed to matter.
On Friday, every business interviewed said sales were at least as good as last year and sometimes greatly exceeded expectations for the traditional post-Thanksgiving start of the Christmas holiday shopping season.
Managers at Clovis’ two newest chain stores, Lowe’s and Hastings, said they weren’t sure going into Friday what they should expect but were extremely glad to see high sales.
Interviewed early Friday evening, Lowe’s manager Mike Duguid said the store already had seen 1,800 ticket transactions, which means four to five times that number of customers went through the store.
“This is an excellent day, the best day we’ve had so far since we opened,” Duguid said.
Lowe’s shopper Dana Rempe of Muleshoe said she was happy to come to Clovis for her shopping.
“I love the new stores, having Hobby Lobby and Lowe’s here is wonderful,” Rempe said. “It sure beats going to Lubbock.”
Rempe and her husband Keith drove to Clovis to shop for carpet and household items, but Gene and Cathy Tidwell of Clovis came to Lowe’s to buy their Christmas tree. Live pine trees aren’t exactly a common sight in eastern New Mexico, so the Tidwells said they appreciated the variety of trees available from Lowe’s.
“I like all the selection, we didn’t have that in Clovis before,” said Cathy Tidwell. “I like the good prices, too.”
Mike Thompson, a manager at Hastings, said the store had 1,500 to 2,000 transactions.
“It’s been fantastic,” Thompson said. “Clovis has been really good to us.”
Thompson said new video club memberships have been among the hottest ticket items.
While browsing through the video department, Jennie Thompson of Cannon Air Force Base said she hoped to rent some videos for her younger family members.
“We’ve never been to Hastings before, we’re just out looking around,” Thompson said.
Cindy Stamps, a department manager at Dillards, said the number of people coming to her store for post-Thanksgiving shopping has been excellent.
“I think some families do it as a tradition; they like to come up front to see what we have to shop,” Stamps said.
Portales resident Debbie Lambirth was one of those regular shoppers.
“I always shop — usually there are a lot of good sales going on and it gets you in the Christmas spirit for the holiday,” she said. “I’ve been shopping here (at Dillards) ever since they opened. They have beautiful clothes, and their help is always real friendly and helpful.”
Her husband was a bit less enthusiastic.
“She just drags me along every year,” said Barry Lambirth.
Managers at K B toys and Hobbies said the store saw about 700 transactions by evening and key items selling included Bratz dolls for girls, the Beyblades action game, and the Bionicles Lego set.
Dyanne Frazier of Portales said she has come out to shop every year on the day after Thanksgiving since her children were young, and Friday saw her shopping for toys for her grandchildren.
“It’s fun watching my grandchildren decide what they’d like to buy,” Frazier said.
Not everybody shopping on Friday was looking for human gifts. Janice Prescott of Ranchvale and her daughter Courtney Wright of Midland came to Joe’s Boot Shop to find treats for their horses.
“You can get clothes, food, tack, just about everything you need,” Prescott said. “We used to have to drive to Muleshoe just to go to Joe’s before this store opened in Clovis.”
“It’s a fun place to shop,” said Kathy Wright of Clovis. “I’ve been coming ever since they opened up their store in Muleshoe.
It’s not just clothes, you can buy feed and work gloves and other things.”
Managers at Joe’s Boot Shop said merchandise was “selling like hotcakes” and owner Joe Rhodes said he was glad to hear other businesses in town were doing well also.
“I’m proud everybody here in town is doing well,” Rhodes said. “That helps all of us.”