Local businesses wrap up the holidays

Peace Surplus is a store in downtown Flagstaff that keeps their holiday decor up well after the new year, Jan. 13, 2019.

Prices for goods around town have decreased in past weeks as businesses clear out their stock to make room for new offerings on the showroom floor. Although some store owners simply aim to get rid of winter merchandise, others take a unique approach to post-holiday sales, using them as an opportunity to give back to the community.

One local business with a unique set of wares is Crystal Magic — a vibrant emporium of international trinkets and antiques. Store manager Jessica Garnello said Crystal Magic had a busy end to 2018 thanks to a major sales event held the week after Christmas.

“We were really busy this year,” Garnello said. “We only do a sale once a year, and it's the weekend after Christmas. Before Christmas it was regular pricing. [The sale] was two days of 40 percent off everything in store.”

Garnello finds that people generally don’t have as much money to spend after the holidays because they spend it all in preparation for Christmas. To her, the sale is a way of appreciating her regular customers who sustain her business yearlong.

“It just helps us say thank you to our customers who help support us and get us through, even at the slowest times of the year — hence why we offer our products for cheaper,” Garnello said. “It’s important to let customers know that we appreciate them. For the 33 years that we’ve been here, the only way we’ve been able to stay is because of our customers, so it’s important to have these sales and to say ‘thank you’ to our customers.”

The customer appreciation of Crystal Magic applies to many businesses in Flagstaff. Amy McCelland, the general manager of Bright Side Bookshop, described some of the sales held by the bookstore following the holiday season. Garnello said the purpose of these sales was to honor Flagstaff locals and encourage their involvement in local commerce.

“We always have our sales cart and Local’s Night. In December we had a sale on kids' books, which was 25 percent off,” McCelland said. “Locals night is every third Tuesday of every month with free parking downtown. It’s kind of a way to get the locals to come back to downtown, because many don’t like all like the new parking meters.”

McCelland said that while it’s not possible to put every item in the store on sale, Brightside prices are always fair. Management at the store aims to reach price points at which all members of the community are comfortable shopping there, regardless of economic status.

McCelland said that Bright Side Bookshop sought to create a community-friendly atmosphere through their sales and holiday events. This year, the bookshop hosted a Jolabokaflod celebration, which honored the Icelandic tradition of eating tons of chocolate and reading books on Christmas Eve. Anybody who bought a book got a free candy bar with their purchase. McCelland said it’s sometimes easier for the business to offer small gifts of appreciation to customers, rather than to host large sales events.

“We’ve got some offer events in the works,” McCelland said. “Every second and fourth Saturday of the month, we do a kids story time where we have volunteers come in to read to our kids, which is really fun.”

President of Peace Surplus, Steve Chatinsky, who started the company with his farther in 1973 is another example of a local businessperson who recognizes that the community plays a large part in keeping his store going.

Peace Surplus is an outdoor adventure store which sells a bounty of hiking and ski equipment. Chatinsky feels that, despite the store’s holiday sales events, building trust with locals by providing fair prices throughout the year is the best way to cultivate steady business for the shop. Chatinsky said the holiday season had been profitable for the store, especially thanks to heightened business at the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort.

“We always do a few small promotions but nothing extraordinary,” Chatinsky said. “It was a good season, and Arizona Snowbowl opened early which brought in a lot more people. The new owners of Snowbowl have done a lot for the community. It really is a trickle-down effect, because not only do they [Arizona Snowbowl] bring us business, they help the whole community, whether you’re for snow making or not.”

Flagstaff is home to a unique ecosystem of local business owners who rely heavily upon each other, regular customers and repeat sales to remain in business throughout and beyond the holiday season. Even though post-holiday sales are economically driven, many local businesses maintain a spirit of good will and holiday cheer by offering fair prices, long after major yearly holidays have ended.