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Sampling of local business shows improved season

Feb 16, 2012 - By Joshua Scheer Staff Writer

For Riverton businesses, the Christmas shopping season brought mixed results.

"We worked really, really hard," said Radioshack owner Dan McDonald, who said holiday sales were up. "They weren't huge increases, but they were increases."

In addition to good sales on the Verizon Wireless side of things, McDonald said phones were being purchased as gifts, and newer ventures into automotive electronics also picked up.

"Our remote-start special was a big deal," he said.

Remote starters are used to start cars with the click of a button on a keychain. The shop ran a special on the product, but McDonald said the weather likely played in the business's favor.

"Business came a little bit slower this year," he said.

With Christmas landing on Sunday, McDonald said Saturday allowed many people the time to put off their shopping until the last minute. He felt that in 2010 more people shopped ahead of time.

One change in operation that worked well for Radioshack was adding an extra hour each evening. McDonald said it took some time to catch on, but once it did the public took advantage of it. He plans on staying open late again next holiday season.

Nearby, Ace Hardware owner Cherry Boles said business was improved from the year before but still "could have been better."

Parts of December exceeded expectations for Boles, while other moments underperformed.

"Our ladies night was fabulous," she said.

The two-hour event in early December that included food, prizes and sales for women only was exceptional, Boles said.

The men's night just before Christmas did not do as well as she had hoped.

Animated holiday decorations, she said, were some of the bigger selling items of the season.

"I think the most memorable thing about the December season was all our customers seemed upbeat," Boles said. "It didn't seem to be about the money."

Back on the Rack owner Patty O'Connor said December and January are never good for consignment shops.

The big shopping month brought her store with a 50 percent drop in sales, she said.

"People don't want to buy used clothes" for Christmas, O'Connor noted.

The drop was more than it had been past years, but she was prepared for a decline regardless.

"It's just a cycle you prepare for," she said.

In the food world, Clark's Meat House stayed busy.

"It was a pretty good year," owner David Haworth said. "Close to last year, but a little more."

The company's prime rib was a hot commodity.

"Nobody else does it like we do," Haworth said.

He said most of the prime ribs were spoken for by the second week in December, and Clark's sold out of the boneless versions. Haworth said he even ordered extra this year and still ran out.

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