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Holiday Shopping Needs Met At Home
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Sears Associate Smoky Stover, right, explains the particulars of the popular ‘auto hammer’ tool to customer Sonny Crim. The tool has been one of the biggest sellers this holiday season. - photo by Marg Jackson/The Leader

The holiday season is once again in full swing in the City of Oakdale. From flat screens to foot creams, gift cards to gadgets, area shoppers need not spend their shopping money on gas in search of the perfect gift, when it can all be found right here in the city limits.

The Oakdale Chamber of Commerce has launched a new promotion in support of area businesses. “Shop Oakdale … because it matters,” seems to be having an effect on shoppers as they continue searching for the perfect gift and considering where to find it.

The past three weekends have found parking lots and downtown streets filled with cars as shoppers ponder their choices.

Kicking off the official shopping season, Black Friday on Nov. 27 held true to its name for many area businesses including big box store Sears Home Appliance Showroom on the north end of town.

According to Store Manager Curt Jackson, customers were lined up as early as 3:30 a.m. awaiting his 4 a.m. Black Friday opening. The company’s promotion of several items including an HE (High Efficiency) washer and dryer set for $599 proved to be just the right price.

“They are starting to spend money,” Jackson said of customers. “They’re also purchasing Maintenance Agreements like crazy.”

The store manager noted that in past years selling the agreements required a little more work and educating customers on the features, advantages and benefits of the agreement. Explanations no longer seem to be necessary, as consumers are now protecting their investments.

“The construction is impeding us a little,” Jackson admitted of the current shopping center renovations. “But they are still coming in and still spending.”

Traffic through the store during the week continues to be steady, but nothing above average. It is the weekends and the “Black Friday” promotion every Saturday hosted by the company that keeps the cash register ringing.

Among the many items being snatched up at the store this season is the company’s well-known Craftsman brand tools.

Motioning to a tool with a retail price of $99.99, Jackson stated, “This item we cannot keep on the shelves. It is the ‘must have’ gift.”

The ‘gift’ is a Craftsman Hammerhead Auto Hammer, which according to Jackson sells as soon as it hits the shelves.

“Promotional items are selling like hotcakes,” he said of many of the other tools the company has promoted.

Flat screen televisions also continue to be an item on the shopping list of holiday shoppers. The smaller sizes tend to be the most popular for the gift givers, but the Samsung LED 52” seems to be holding its own as well. Jackson also indicated that the company had brought in a 40” Proscan LCD flat screen for the everyday promotional price of $599.

“The owner bought one and he says the picture is perfectly clear,” Jackson said of the limited time offer. “You really can’t beat it for the money.”

Of the many promotions the store is offering the customer this holiday season, it is perhaps the giving back promotions, which have the manager most excited.

The 2009 Holiday Food Program encourages shoppers to donate three or more non-perishable food items in exchange for money off coupons on an in store purchase. In 2008 the promotion resulted in over 750 non-perishable items being donated to Oakdale Community Sharing.

For the shopper in search of unique, as well as resourceful, they need not travel further east of town than the 1220 East F St. address of TAGS Consignment Boutique. While the shop is always packed with high quality apparel and accessories, this holiday season they offer a unique spread for the shopper in search of something out of the ordinary.

Twilight Jewelry made of repurposed bottlecaps and various other items are a must have for the Twilight fan.

“It’s all Jacob Black,” team associate Melissa Nethercott said of the popular line of handmade jewelry. Nethercott added the ‘quote’ pieces are also very popular with the literary fans.

Boutique co-owner, Sandy Reed, stated that repurposed items have been very popular sought out items from shoppers this holiday season.

Jeans repurposed to bags and tees repurposed to scarves are some of the items the shop has had a hard time keeping on hand, she noted.

“Now everybody is more interested in one gift that means something than a number of things that don’t,” Nethercott added.

The two women shared that a number of customers are using the jean bags as a replacement to the traditional gift bag, noting that the bag serves its purpose, yet continues to be useful after the gift is revealed.

Reed also shared that Hempz lotion continues to be a popular gift item, as are the soy candles.

“Staying with the ‘green’ theme are these scented pencils made from 100 percent recycled newspaper,” she said. “These are by far the most popular stocking stuffer.”

For the shopper looking to help a loved one keep warm as they run about town, the boutique also has handmade knit cap and scarf sets for the bargain price of $8.75. Each set is unique in its own right and handmade by a local senior who the women claim just loves to knit.

Scarves, soaps, lotions, as well as an abundance of holiday treasures can be found at any one of Oakdale’s specialty shops, be it the Empty Nest, Alexandra’s Home and Garden or the chic I Love Paris. These downtown shops are sure to please the pickiest of treasure hunters looking for a little bauble or precious ornament to show their love.

As shopping days dwindle down and lists receive checkmarks, the merchants of Oakdale will continue to welcome its shoppers and show them the way to just the right gift, without ever leaving the city limits.