Not done with Christmas shopping yet? Don’t worry, shop local

Bret and Maria Colamarino shop for last-minute gifts at Green Goat Gallery in Spencer, picking up a yarn bowl and walking stick for two hard-to-buy-for relatives. Photo by Emily Ford
Bret and Maria Colamarino shop for last-minute gifts at Green Goat Gallery in Spencer, picking up a yarn bowl and walking stick for two hard-to-buy-for relatives. Photo by Emily Ford

CHINA GROVE — It’s Thursday night, six days before Christmas. Tammy Henley has just started her Christmas shopping.

And she is not freaking out.

Rather than drive to an out-of-town mall or fight crowds at a big box store, Henley is taking her time, looking through dresses and colorful tops at Embellish Boutique in downtown China Grove and chatting with manager Kendra Owens.

She isn’t worried a bit that Christmas is right around the corner.

“I’m a last-minute shopper, every year,” said Henley, who works in retail and said she doesn’t have time to shop until late in the season.

By shopping local, Henley said she can relax and find unique gifts while supporting downtown merchants. And she knows how important that is — Henley works at Queen’s Gifts in downtown Salisbury.

Sara Frick, owner of Adella Apparel in Salisbury, said she counts on last-minute shoppers and caters to them, offering a variety of quick and easy choices that take much of the guesswork out of buying a gift. Shoppers don’t have to worry about size or color when they buy candles, jewelry and scarves, she said, which have been popular gift items this season.

According to the National Retail Federation, 30 percent of holiday season sales happen during the last two weeks of the year. The Saturday before Christmas is the second biggest shopping day after Black Friday.

The week before Christmas has been her busiest week of 2013, Frick said, “and I expect Monday to be busy as well.”

Adella and many other local retailers will be open Monday and Tuesday for last-minute shoppers.

“Usually, people go in early December to the malls and do all their online shopping, and then they shop downtown,” Frick said. “They remember they missed a person or have to get the teachers something.”

People don’t want to fight traffic, and more are embracing the shop local movement, she said.

Maria and Bret Colamarino of Advance shop last-minute and local every year, they said. Friday afternoon, they stopped at the Green Goat Gallery and TranqWool Knitting Provisions in Spencer.

They picked up a ceramic yarn bowl and skein of yarn for Bret’s mother and a carved walking stick for his father, “the man who has everything,” Bret said.

“We don’t have any trouble finding last-minute gifts,” Maria said. “For the people who are difficult to buy for, we come here to the gallery.”

For more last-minute gift options you can find locally without breaking the bank, check out these ideas:

For the sweet tooth

• Candy Shoppe on Main

119 S. Main St. Salisbury

Open Monday and Tuesday

Co-owner Don Vick recently added a selection of old-fashioned candies made in the United States, all priced about $5.

Hammond’s ribbon candy, which is handmade and comes in various Christmas color combinations, brings back memories of Christmas past. Hammond’s also makes a chocolate peppermint crunch, $5.99 per bag, for the chocolate lover on your list.

Butterfield’s Old-Fashioned Holiday Candy ($4.89) is made in Nashville, N.C. and comes in six flavors in a slick package.

For the musician

• Guitars USA

110 N. Main St. Salisbury

Open Monday and Tuesday

A new music store in downtown Salisbury carries a vibration tuner by Snark ($19.99), which attaches to any musical instrument from a trumpet to a banjo. Battery operated, the gadget is small enough to fit in a stocking on Christmas Day and in a pocket after that.

The tuner can remain clipped on the instrument throughout a performance, recital or gig, so the player is never out of tune, co-owner David Brown said. Snark uses vibration, not noise, so it only tunes the instrument that it is attached to, he said.

• Griffin’s Guitars

107 S. Main St. Salisbury

Open Monday and Tuesday

Not one but two guitar shops recently opened in downtown Salisbury. Just down the street from Guitars USA, Griffin’s Guitars carries a selection of guitar accessories priced from $5 to $20. Owner Trent Griffin said strings and capos — little gadgets that change the key of a guitar when placed on the neck — make great stocking stuffers for guitar players from beginners to advanced.

“I’m kind of expecting a last-minute rush,” Griffin said.

With all the rainy weather in December, Griffin said he believes many people put off their Christmas shopping for a brighter day. And because Thanksgiving fell late this year, people have six fewer shopping days than last year.

For the fashionista

• Adella Apparel

105 B N. Main St. Salisbury

Open Monday and Tuesday

If you’re looking for a gift for a female friend, teacher or relative and don’t want to worry about choosing the right size or color, Frick suggests a scarf. Adella carries a variety of styles, designs and fabrics priced between $7.50 and $16 that can dress up jeans or keep the chill away in a drafty office.

For the baby

• Lora Belle Baby

105 A N. Main St. Salisbury

Open Monday and Tuesday

Next door to Adella at Lora Belle Baby, check out the adorable fuzzy hats for infants and toddlers by Magnificent Baby for $17.50, available in three colors. They even have little ears and long flaps, perfect for a stroller ride on a windy day or a trip to the park.

For the book lover

• Country Christian Books & Gifts

409 S. Salisbury Ave. Granite Quarry

Open Monday and Tuesday

Daily devotionals are popular once again this year, said owner Denise Reavis, who offers an entire section in her store. The books include a devotional reading for each day of the year and make great last-minute gifts, she said.

Popular varieties include “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young and “Duck Commander” with devotionals from the stars of the popular TV reality show, “Duck Dynasty.”

• The Last Word

612 W. Innes St. Salisbury,

Open Monday and Tuesday

Liz Pope recommends biographies as a great gift for any reader. Her shop carries the life story of everyone from Nelson Mandela to Johnny Cash.

Pope said she can help confused shoppers choose the right book for the right person by talking about the recipient’s likes and interests.

After Black Friday and online shopping, people often turn to small, independent stores like The Last Word, which sells used books and DVDs, in the final days before Christmas.

“They’re running out of money. They’re running out of ideas,” Pope said. “They come to us because they can stretch their dollar, and this is much more personal.”

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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