Holiday sales get rave review
by Cheryl Gilman
If shopping malls seemed empty this year, it was because Santa
and his reindeers were busy in downtown Ojai. Contrary to national
news reports of dismal holiday shopping, the merchants on Ojai
Avenue are smiling about a better-than-expected season.
Jeff Rains, of Rains Department Store, felt people were feeling
positive. "I heard lots of times, 'I'm shopping locally
this year,'" he said.
Although customers waited in long lines to check out at Rains'
famous after-Christmas sale, Rains said, "This is nothing
compared to the day before Christmas - which really surprised
us. We were swamped!"
Hallie Katz of Human Arts said, "Things really picked up
in the last few weeks in December and, all I know is that we
wrapped a lot of boxes! Ojai has been very fortunate because
it has been somewhat removed,
and still many people came up from L.A."
Kim Phillips and Laurie Harvey opened the doors of The Pink Crow
during Ojai Day this year, and can't believe their good fortune.
"I'm stunned, in fact," said Phillips. "We did
fabulous. But we're brand-new and didn't know what to expect.
People are coming in to buy more of the gifts they got on Christmas
day. The tourist business has been amazing and the Holiday Stroll
even surpassed Ojai Day for us."
Ginger Cochrane at True West also said, "Holiday business
has been much better than expected. People are still shopping
for small luxuries."
Nancy Pierson said that business at Punky's Provence and Down
Home Furnishings has been fantastic this year. "Perhaps
people are staying home and splurging on themselves and their
homes. They are coming to Ojai rather than traveling abroad.
One man said he had canceled a trip to Turkey and came to Ojai
"Christmas shopping at Primavera was far ahead of the Thanksgiving
holiday, which is unusual," Khaled Al-Awar reported. "We
are very grateful to Ojai because 75 percent of our business
comes from the community."
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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