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Massena merchants pleased with 2012 holiday shopping season

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MASSENA — The 2012 holiday shopping season was a good one, according to local merchants, who said this year’s sales were the best they’ve been in recent years.

“Our business was excellent,” said Jacquelin J. Sheehan, who together with her husband, John P. “Phil,” owns and operates Phil & Jackie’s gift shop on Main Street. “It was up from last year. People were helping to support the local businesses and most of the time the shopping weather was really good, so that made it easier.”

But Mrs. Sheehan said she did not think brisk sales were a sign of a recovering economy.

“I don’t think the economy is getting better,” she said. “I think it’s because we try to stay in a medium to low price range and offer services like gift wrapping. We also had a lot of in-house orders like ornaments, mugs and shirts. We also try to carry ‘Made in the USA’ products.”

Mr. Sheehan said he thinks it’s those gifts that you’re not going to find anywhere else that really drives their business.

“Personalization keeps us going,” he said, adding that as they enter year four at their new location, more and more people are finding them.

“After three and a half years, people are realizing we’re here,” he said.

Shannon Peets-Hendricks, who co-owns Peet’s Jewelers with several other members of her family, said their holiday season also was a good one.

“This was one of the busier seasons we’ve had in the last couple of years,” she said. “Sales were definitely up.”

While she expected this year to be busier, she said, “You never know from year to year. Some people are starting to spend more and others are making more of an effort to shop local.”

Three other new Massena merchants from St. Lawrence Centre mall also were pleased with their sales.

While Memory Lane isn’t exactly a new business, this year was its first holiday season without longtime owner Karen B. Osoway, who sold the business to Peggy Cruz and died in 2012.

“Karen and God blessed me,” Ms. Cruz said. “My holiday season was fantastic.”

Ms. Cruz, who had a booth in the shop and worked there before buying the business, said this year the store held a holiday sale, which might have helped. One thing she did notice was the types of purchases people were making.

“Furniture was a mover,” she said, adding that in the past the store didn’t sell a lot of furniture.

Ms. Cruz also said she saw a lot of new faces this year.

“A lot of people who have never been in before came in,” she said.

One of the mall’s newest tenants, although a seasonal one, was Twisted Turtle.

Owner Jessika T. Furnace said the location at the mall was so busy, she actually had to close her original Potsdam location.

“It got very, very busy about three weeks before Christmas and I couldn’t get any more orders in,” she said.

While the Twisted Turtle’s St. Lawrence Centre location was a seasonal one, Ms. Furnace said, she thinks her time in the mall was time well spent.

“I think we got a lot of new customers for our Potsdam location,” she said, adding she’s looking forward to returning to the mall for the 2013 holiday shopping season.

“As long as they’ll have us, I’ll be there,” she said.

Ms. Furnace also acknowledged that this year was a learning experience and next year, she’s looking forward to a great holiday season at both locations.

“It was our first year in the mall and it was definitely a learning experience,” she said. “Next year we’ll have enough inventory to have both stores open during the holiday season.”

This year also marked the first holiday season at St. Lawrence Centre for the Mustard Tin, and the store’s owner, Linda Dalton, said things went well. “I’m happy with what I did,” she said.

“I’m new here, so a lot of people discovered me,” she added. “They were asking me if I was just here for the holidays and I told them, ‘No, I’m here all the time.’”

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