Twas the weekend before Christmas

Jamie Heap
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Merchants, shoppers stay busy over last weekend of shopping before Christmas while looking forward to 2014

AMHERST-Big box and locally-owned stores were filled with shoppers doing some last minute Christmas shopping for family and friends Friday and Saturday.

“You could tell on Friday that everyone was in a rush,” said Matt Cormier of Dayle’s Department store. “People are still doing last minute shopping. Smartwool socks, Under Armour, Bogs and Lug are really big sellers of ours.”

While holding off on Christmas shopping until the last minute can be stressful, Cormier has noticed that the holiday season is also like a reunion of sorts.

“People are able to get out and see everyone,” said Cormier. “It is like a reunion You can tell it is close to Christmas because everyone is greeting other people.”

One of the shoppers who took advantage of this past Saturday’s better than forecasted weather was Cumberland North MLA Terry Farrell.

“I left home at 11:00 am this morning,” said Farrell. “Four hours later I had completed my Christmas shopping in downtown Amherst. I had a lovely stroll, spoke to many wonderful people and got some incredible deals. Our downtown is a gem. Please get on board and help share the news that Amherst is a destination.”

Just up the street from Dayle’s Department store, a woman wraps up her Christmas shopping with a gift for her husband at Mansour’s Men’s Wear, a business that has been in operation in downtown Amherst since 1924. As was the case at Dayle’s Department store, business was brisk at Mansour’s Men’s Wear on Saturday.

“We’ve been very busy,” said Keith Cormier of Mansour’s Men’s Wear. “A lot of people are starting to buying local. Men’s suits aren’t that popular during the Christmas season, more like sweaters and dress shirts.”

According to Mikhial Mansour, Saxx Underwear, which were invented in 2006 by athlete and MBA student Trent Kitsch while on a fishing trip with his father, is the store’s hottest-selling item in the store, perhaps in all of Amherst, this season.

“We’ve been selling a lot of Saxx Underwear,” said Mikhial Mansour. “We’re the only place in town for Saxx Underwear. Saxx is the biggest seller in the store.”

Looking ahead to the New Year, Mansour’s Men’s Wear and Dayle’s Department store’s Matt Cormier are excited about what 2014 has to offer.

“Next year, we’re opening a ladies’ store,” said Mansour. “We’re going to carry the same quality, trying to get as much Canadian content as possible.”

As for Matt Cormier, based on the success of the first four artisans’ markets, he is looking forward to organizing another artisan’s market in the New Year.

“Due to the colder weather, many vendors were inside during our last market,” said Cormier. “We’re looking forward to hosting another one in the near future. Anyone can host one. Support is what keeps it going as it continues to grow.”

Geographic location: AMHERST

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