Small treats abound at Southern Christmas Show
By Susan Shinn
CHARLOTTE ó The smell of cinnamon and the sound of jazz music filled the air Wednesday evening at the 41st annual Southern Christmas Show.
Vendors hope that they’ll also hear the sounds of their cash registers during the show, which runs through Nov. 23 at the Charlotte Merchandise Mart ó now known as The Park.
“We still have a wait-list for vendors,” said Ann Della Valle, show manager, during the preview show on Wednesday.
“Everything seems to be much like it is every year,” she said. “We actually are adding more women’s shows.”
That includes venues in northern Virginia and Cleveland, Ohio.
The Southern Christmas Show is a longstanding tradition for many area families.
“People have been coming for 40 years and it’s not something they’re going to cut out of their routine,” Della Valle said.
This year, she noted, “People are looking for better deals, buying gifts under $20.”
Pam Hylton Coffield agreed.
Coffield, who owns the Stitchin’ Post in Salisbury, has had a shop at the show for years.
“We tried to stay with items that we thought were reasonable,” she said. “It seems like $20 was the magic price ó $10, $20 and $30 are the magic numbers.”
Along with a huge display of Life is Good T-shirts and gift items, Coffield has a great selection of holiday gifts priced to go.
The monogrammed mini garden flags ($16.99) are a huge hit so far, as are holiday toilet covers ó a steal at only $6.99.
You can also pick up a digital photo ornament that holds 60 photos for $29.99.
Coffield always seeks the unique, and this year’s show is no exception.
Sherry Mowery demonstrated Snow to Go, instant snow when you add 2 ounces of water. It’s only $5.99.
In another part of the hall, Julie Sloop was holding down the fort at the Pretty Baby booth. The company is located in China Grove, and the family is fifth-generation soap makers. Sloop said they’d been attending the show for at least a dozen years.
“The premiere night is always slow,” she said.Sloop said that show sales overall were down about 20 percent for the year. The company has most of its sales through catalogues and through shows.
But you never know what will happen at a show, she said. “Last weekend, we had a record show in Savannah. With the gas prices going down, maybe people will start buying.”
“The one plus for us is that we can have a $5 sale or a $3 sale.”
The company carries soaps, lotions, scrubs and powders, but the soaps are the most popular selling item.
They’re priced at $5 each or five for $20.
Nearby, Mickey Harvey of Thomasville, Ga., was spooning out free samples of peanut and pecan Crickle, an incredible brittle, according to their brochure.
It was delicious.
The company ships all over the country, Harvey said. “We think small items will be good this year. I think we’re gonna do exceptionally well.”
Harvey was selling bags of Crickle for $5 and $9.
The company has attended the show from the beginning.
Carol Everhart of Spencer will attend the show today. She goes every year with the women in her family.
Everhart doesn’t plan to shop at the show much differently this year than she normally does, she said Wednesday.
“It’s kind of a social thing,” she said. “I get things here but it’s not ever the bulk of my shopping. It’s a fun day off to go and look around. I pick up a specialty gift here and there. It gets me in the Christmas spirit.”