Oskaloosa.com

December 2, 2013

Christmas Walk brings people to small businesses

By DUANE NOLLEN
Herald correspondent

OSKALOOSA — Small businesses were buzzing with activity Saturday as people looked for good deals during the Oskaloosa Christmas Walk.

The Christmas Walk coincided with Small Business Saturday after Black Friday to kick off the Christmas holiday shopping season. People could shop in participating businesses and register for Osky Cash prizes or gift certificates.

"It's a staple event to kick off the Christmas spirit in Oskaloosa," Brown's Shoe Fit Store Manager Brian Myers said. "It seems like a good event to us. It brings a lot of traffic downtown."

The Christmas Walk follows a busy Black Friday for Myers and his staff.

"We were surprisingly busy," he said. "This was one of the best Black Fridays we've had in 12 years."

Myers said his store does the same specials on Black Friday and the Christmas Walk. Some of the specials include 20 percent off the entire store and a sock special where you buy three pairs of socks and you get the fourth for free.

"It's a way of giving back," he said.

Myers said the store opened at 7 a.m. Saturday and people came in to shop.

"I was surprised. We were busy," he said. "It's fun. I enjoy it."

Belinda LaFollette, of Harvey, came to Brown's Shoe Fit Saturday for a new pair of shoes.

LaFollette said this is the first time she has shopped during the Christmas Walk.

"I thought I'd come over and have this nice guy baby my feet," she said.

LaFollette said she prefers to shop on the Saturday after Black Friday.

"I wouldn't go out on Black Friday even if you'd pay me,” she said.

JoAnne Plate, of H&S Feed, said Saturday was a good business day for her store.

"It's been really steady," she said of the flow of customers to the store.

Plate said the Christmas Walk crowd was about the same as the Black Friday crowd: "pretty steady."

The most popular items at H&S Feed were pet-related merchandise, Christmas gifts and jewelry. Plate said there were sales on horse-related items, dog food and wild bird seed.

The staff at Hunter's in downtown Oskaloosa was getting ready for a good crowd on Saturday.

Owner Shirley Hunter said the staff was getting the flavored coffees and snacks ready in the store's coffee shop for an influx of customers.

"It's usually our best day," she said. "'Big Box stores' have Black Friday. People do their regular shopping this day."

Hunter said the popular items at her store during the holiday season include Christmas items, reindeer, Christmas candles and carved Santas.

"We're almost out already," she said of the carved Santas.

Jane Bambrook of Oskaloosa was at Hunter's shopping Saturday. Bambrook said she likes to shop during the Christmas Walk.

"It's fun to go into all the shops you don't usually go to," she said.

Bambrook said she was shopping for "holiday stuff — ornaments and stuff like that."

Ruthi Rogers was working in her kitchen at The Book Vault to get ready for the Christmas Walk. She was arranging some holiday goodies for customers to sample.

"It's a good day," Rogers said of the Christmas Walk. "We get a lot of people from out of town. They like the specials."

"We coincide our Christmas Open House with this. There are specials through out the store," she said.

Rogers said Christmas Walk is a good event as it is also a small business shopping day.

"It's one of our best days of the year," she said.

Rogers said Black Friday was a good day for the book store. Business picked up in the afternoon, she added.

Herald Editor Duane Nollen can be reached by email at oskynews@oskyherald.com