Despite the dismal economy, many local mom-and-pop-shops had an active and lucrative holiday season.
Last Friday and Saturday, , a shoe store on Seventh Avenue, was packed with customers buying last-minute gifts. The owner, Eric Mudick, said he had to reorder boots five times this holiday season, compared to three reorders last year.
“It was way more active than last year, the buying spirit was a lot bigger this year around,” said Mudick.
“We were very active this past weekend. We had tons of husbands coming in to buy gift certificates for their wives,” Mudick said. “At one point we had four guys come in at once, all buying gift certificates. Women also filed in to buy high-end, handmade leather boots.”
He also said that he saw many more out-of-towners who came to stock up on his leather boots, like ones made by Frye and Fiorentino and Baker, than years before.
Mudick added, “The holiday pressure is felt by everyone.”
Down the avenue at , they also had a great year.
“Customers seemed more confident in their purchases this year,” said Shonee Strother, a manager. “People bought a lot more per person than usual, each customer spent at least $75.”
Strother explained that the gift department’s most popular gift was whiskey rocks, stone cubes that are put in the freezer and then in a glass of whiskey, cost $20.
If you like your nip on the rocks you can enjoy it cold, but it does not get diluted. He said that people were coming in and buying more than just one gift, considering a whiskey rock set costs $60.
“Last year was our first steps into the scary part of the recession, no one knew what was going down and they were more conservative with their purchases, no one spent like they had money,” Strother said. “But this year, people spent money on more expensive purchases."
, which has two locations in the Slope, did exceedingly well.
“The last weekend before Christmas was craziness,” said Renatta Chagoyen, a manager of Area Kids’ Fifth Avenue location. “On average, we tripled what we normally make.”
“Business is really good this year,” she added.
Even days after the holiday weekend rush, patrons flooded shops on Park Slope’s two commercial districts to buy belated gifts for friends and family or for themselves.
“Monday and Tuesday we saw mothers with their exasperated daughters coming in to buy things they cannot get while at college,” said Mudick. “One girl bought four pairs of handmade boots for $500 a piece.”
He said the biggest difference he saw from last year was that people bought more expensive shoes this time around.
“Instead of buying two pairs of shoes made in China for $200 a piece, people seemed to value quality more this time around,” Mudick said. “People were coming in and buying boots that cost $500 and up, but they will last for ten years.”
Customers also said that they were in fact spending more this year.
Mike Fitzpatrick, who made a $150 purchase on Tuesday at the Clay Pot, said he spent “marginally more” this holiday season.
He said that he has a small family and spent $1,000 for holiday gifts. Last year he said he only spent $700.
“I felt saver buying gifts this year,” Fitzpatrick said. “Everyone still seems to be worried about money, but I am not going to lose my house, I didn’t feel particularly pressed.”