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Boxing Day brings Canadian shoppers to St. Lawrence Centre

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MASSENA - The day after Christmas saw anchor stores at the St. Lawrence Centre opening by 7 a.m., and shoppers flocking to the mall looking for post-holiday sales as well as Canadian shoppers heading south to celebrate Boxing Day.

According to its entry on Wikipedia, Boxing Day’s origins go back several hundred years when servants working for wealthy families would be given the day after Christmas off to spend with their families, often receiving a box containing gifts, monetary bonuses and sometimes leftover food from their own holiday feasts.

The day now though, which is celebrated in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and several other countries, is best known as a shopping holiday.

And while Boxing Day is not a holiday in the U.S., the day after Christmas serves as almost a one-day extension of the holiday shopping season at the St. Lawrence Centre mall.

“The mall is typically busy,” said St. Lawrence Centre Marketing Manager Ronald J. Patnode, who added that since the day is not a holiday, Boxing Day marks the return to regular mall hours following extended holiday hours.

A quick survey of the mall’s main parking lot showed that nearly 20 percent of the vehicles in the lot were Canadian customers.

Mr. Patnode said the mall regularly monitors Canadian traffic conducting parking lot surveys on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

“The last couple of months we have been between 28 and 30 percent Canadian,” he said.

Marketing Assistant Lindsay S. Breitbeck said from what she noticed on Thursday it was another busy day at St. Lawrence Centre.

“A lot of people have been coming in to exchange gifts or use their gift cards,” she said. “We’ve been getting a lot of traffic today with people using their gift cards to buy things that they wanted but didn’t get.”

The day after Christmas also signals the start of sales for retailers looking to clear their shelves of holiday merchandise or excess inventory that didn’t sell during the holiday season.

“Things you might not have been able to afford before Christmas or even if you had the money, but couldn’t justify spending it, maybe you can now,” she said, giving the example of $60 pair of boots that may now be marked down to $20.

Business at The Twisted Turtle, which was actually advertising a Boxing Day sale, was great, owner Jessika Furnace said.

“It’s been busy today and sales this year are up significantly for Twisted Turtle over what they were last year.”

When asked why she decided to have a Boxing Day sale, Ms. Furnace, who is in her second year of business at the mall, said it was something that made sense.

“Last year we didn’t do any Boxing Day sales, because we were extremely low on inventory, due to it being our first year there and not knowing what to expect,” she said. “This year after Christmas we still look like a store, as we were able to manage inventory better, so I decided to have a Boxing Day sale.”

Bob Burroughs, who owns Progressive Imports, said Boxing Day is normally, a busy day for him, but this year sales have been down a bit from what they have been on previous Boxing Days.

“Boxing Day is usually pretty good for me, but it’s not turning out that way today,” he said, adding though that roughly two-thirds of his customers on Thursday were Canadians.

Peggy Cruz, who owns Memory Lanes, said her store had been steady and said that sales were likely similar to what they had been in the past on the day after Christmas.

“There’s been a lot of people in today. It’s been steady,” she said, adding that there must have still been some extra holiday cheer in the air.

“Everyone’s been really nice,” she said, explaining that she had forgotten to schedule extra help for the day and was working by herself.

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