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In search of bargains, locals brave elements
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Shirley Joyce of Patrick County checks out some items at Uptown Treasures on Fayette Street across from Prillaman’s Market. Joyce did all of her Christmas shopping in Martinsville. (Bulletin photo by Ben R. Williams)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

By BEN R. WILLIAMS - Bulletin Staff Writer

Morning sleet, rain and low temperatures caused many people to stay home Wednesday, but a few bold shoppers braved the weather in search of sales on the day after Christmas.

According to Stephen Martin, the manager of Uptown Treasures on Fayette Street across from Prillaman’s Market, business started out slow, but picked up as the day progressed.

“It didn’t help with the ice,” Martin said, but added that he’d made a few sales in the afternoon.

“It’s all in God’s hands,” Martin said.

One of his customers, Shirley Joyce of Patrick County, was delayed by the morning sleet, but had ventured into Martinsville to investigate the holiday sales.

“I love supporting Martinsville,” Joyce said. “I did all of my Christmas shopping this year in Martinsville.”

“I’m saddened that we’re losing some stores, and I’m wishing that we could get some stores back,” Martin continued. “I like to help local merchants. I’m a business owner myself .... People support me, and I like to support local people.”

Martin added that “I spent a lot more money than I thought I would this year, but I spent it locally.”

Other local businesses saw an uptick in sales compared to a typical day. Rodney Smith at Woodall’s Music in Collinsville said that several people came in to “spend a little bit of the money they got for Christmas.”

He said that while the day after Christmas is usually a strong day for sales at Woodall’s Music, it was “probably a little bit true” that the weather had kept some shoppers away.

At Liberty Fair Mall, most store proprietors declined to speak on sales trends, although several stores seemed to be doing a brisk business.

Delois Moyer, a sales team manager who has been with Belk for about five years, said that the day after Christmas had been a good one for the store.

“The sales have been very strong,” Moyer said. “We haven’t had many returns today. We’ve had mostly sales.”

Moyer said that the home department and men’s department had seen particularly good business.

Moyer added that “with the weather being like it was, we were pretty slow when we first opened, then it started picking up .... We’ve been pretty steady.”

While many shoppers were hunting for post-Christmas deals, others were just doing routine business.

According to Chris Hampton, who was entering Walmart with friend Devante Finney, “most of the time (after Christmas), we go to the mall, but today, I was just (getting) some essentials.”

He admitted, however, that he might keep an eye open for any sales on video games for the PlayStation 3.

Bargain-hunter Dathne Barbour of Martinsville also braved the weather to do some after-Christmas shopping.

“I saw fewer people than in the past,” she said, likely because of the weather.

Barbour said that it seems to her that stores are no longer over-stocking seasonal items. As a result, she hasn’t had as much luck in recent years finding good deals on holiday-themed items shortly after Christmas.

Barbour said she did find a few good sales, particularly at Bath and Body Works in Liberty Fair Mall, and she was glad she made the trip.

She did add that the bad weather may have helped one kind of business. According to Barbour, the grocery stores she visited didn’t have quite as much bread as usual.


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