Area stores report bright business in holiday cheer

By KATHY DAY and BRYAN CORLISS

Herald Writer

Holiday decorations are lighting up business for some area merchants.

At the Everett Mall Rite-Aid on Friday, shopper Katie Winders was pacing off 45 feet, the length of a strand of icicle lights that she was thinking about purchasing. "One of those is enough for the front of the house," she told her daughter.

While she said she tries not to buy lights every year, she said this was the year to replace some, to buy a new color, probably blue, and to get some to cover the bushes in front of her house.

Next, though, she said she has to persuade her husband to do the hard part and get the lights up on their Lake Stevens home.

While a clerk at Rite-Aid said few customers seemed to be following Winder’s urge to light her house, Andrew Sandoval, manager of the Marysville Kmart, said it’s common to see people go through the checkout line with nothing but lights.

"We have that all the time," he said. "They come in and buy basketloads of decorations."

The day after Thanksgiving traditionally is one of store’s top-selling days for lights and other ornaments, with the best sales of the season running for about two weekends before it tapers off.

"If you haven’t decorated your house by the 15th, you’re probably not going to be doing it," Sandoval said. He added that sales started early this year, a factor he attributed in part to the good weather.

At Emery’s Garden in Lynnwood, which itself is all lit up, activity was "really brisk," said general manager Marlis Korber. "We’re not seeing the panic yet. That usually comes later."

But Emery’s is seeing what she described as "the planner," who is moving methodically into the holiday season, as well as lots of browsers.

"I’m not sure what it is, maybe the new millennium, but this year I have a sense that it’s a year of flash and glitter," Korber said.

Emery’s hot-selling items have been bright colors, bright lights and big candles, as well as a lot of natural garlands and fresh greenery.

Mary Tont at Wight’s Home and Garden in Lynnwood, another landmark for holiday shoppers, said the store is "selling tons of things. It’s better than past years."

Wight’s shoppers seem to be drawn to the larger items like finials, tree tops that hang from the ceiling, she said.

In addition to lots of icicle lights, she said shoppers are attracted to various theme lights with candy canes or harlequins or different color combinations.

Themes seem to be turning heads at Monroe’s Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames, said manager April Siben.

"People are following home decor themes and coordinating colors more," she said, noting that combinations like pink, gold and mauve or blue and white are big.

Only a few people have come in and bought the proverbial store so they can do a whole new theme, she said, and they seem to be from Bellevue and other Eastside communities. "Shoppers from Monroe, Snohomish, our more regular customers, buy a few things to add to what they already have."

New kinds of lights are making cash registers ring, Siben added, naming clear iridescent pine cones and rope lights as popular choices.

Kmart’s Sandoval said icicle lights are still very hot. And he agreed that the rope lights are doing well this year because they are easier to hang.

He put up his own lights last weekend. "The weather was perfect," he added. "If I didn’t put them up early, I’d never get them up."

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