Local retailers find success with traditional gifts

svaughan@vagazette.com

Wednesday we looked at hot Christmas gifts nationwide — tech toys, hot media tie-ins and expensive clothing and cookware.

Local retailers are having more success with more traditional and hand-made gifts.

At Paint On Pottery in High Street owner Robin Wilder said one fast-selling item is predictable.

"Of course our Christmas decorations are moving very well," she said.

She also pointed out a set of coasters that was proving very popular as an affordable Christmas gift.

Next door, at Quirks of Art, gallery manager Kendra Law said their experience was a little different

"We aren't so much selling our tchotchkes," she said. "We have some work where the artist has been to the store and people have been able to meet them, those are selling better," she said.

She pointed out a line of jewelry by California artist Jennifer Northrup who recently visited that was selling well.

Quirks of Art's holiday advertising also features a line of colorfully painted women's cowboy boots.

Sam Wallace, who owns both R.P. Wallace & Sons General Store and The Christmas Store in Merchant's Square said they are doing well with traditional gifts.

"We're selling a lot of scarves, a lot of replica guns," he said. "We're also selling a lot of apparel.'

Not every gift idea locally is traditional.

At Comic Cubicle in New Town, owner Mark Welch, said he sees lots of business from shoppers looking for gifts for their comic-fan friends.

What's hot?

"Star Wars," Welch joked. "You'd almost think there's a movie out or something."

The store is offering a free premium this weekend related to Star Wars, while supplies last.

"It's a preview sampler of all the new Marvel Star Wars books," Welch said.

The area's largest local retailer is Colonial Williamsburg, which sells 15,000 items in 23 retail stores and also sells some items online.

"A couple of items selling very well this year are our set of three lanterns for $79.00 and our bird bottles for $29.00 each. Both are considered garden items, although the lanterns can certainly be used indoors as well. Both these items are available online at Williamsburgmarketplace.com," said Colonial Williamsburg spokesman Barbara Brown.

Colonial Williamsburg also sells a line of Christmas items.

"Yes. Christmas cards, wreaths, both natural, fresh ones sold at the Colonial Nursery and the artificial ones sold at Celebrations in Merchants Square, are very popular – as are ornaments, little soaps, jewelry, bottles of wine and beer, condiments, candles, candle sticks, glass chimneys that cover a candle and looks pretty on a table," Brown said.

Business Notes:

UMFS, United Methodist Family Services of Virginia, a local nonprofit social service organization that works with high-risk children, their families and communities throughout Virginia, has just released its Holiday Gift Catalog. The catalog can be accessed online at www.umfs.org/Catalog and provides specific ways you can support the organization and its many program. Every purchase (donation) is tax deductible. For more information contact UMFS toll-free at 855.367.8637, or email info@umfs.org.

Guernsey Tingle Architects announced that Thomas Jardim has joined the firm as a designer/ technician. Jardim is a 2006 Cum Laude graduate of the New Jersey Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Architecture and a minor in history. He is an Albert Dorman Honors college graduate. Prior to joining Guernsey Tingle Architects, he worked for five years in Haiti design and rebuild Haitian communities. Jardim is working on projects for Busch Gardens Williamsburg and the Hampton Roads Sanitation District

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