Bringing in customers

The Miles and Richardson families walk down Second Street on Friday afternoon while shopping in downtown Laramie. The families were on their way to lunch after spending the morning shopping for Christmas gifts.

SHANNON BRODERICK/Boomerang photographer

Throughout the nation, stores such as those in downtown Laramie are having sales to help holiday shoppers find what they need — locally — for the holiday season.

Martindale’s Western Store owner Joan Martindale said during her store’s Black Friday sale, several people who stayed in Laramie for Thanksgiving came to do some Christmas shopping. She said between Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, she is expecting a lot of people to come to her store.

“We are having Black Friday and Shop Small Saturday sales. We are having 10 percent off storewide,” Martindale said. “We were busy (Friday morning and) a lot of the people stay in town and shop here, which helps support the local economy.”

The local stores provide shoppers opportunities to find Christmas gifts without having to purchase a generic option, downtown shopper Steve Burke said. He said this holiday season, he is shopping downtown to find presents for his family.

“The kids want socks, ski gear, sporting gear and stuff like that this year,” Burke said. “We are not looking for appliances, TVs or any of the big-box stuff and looking for more small-business things this year.”

Downtown shopper Jon Madsen said he shopped in downtown Black Friday because of the unique products available in that part of town. He said the older people get, the less they purchase generic or high-end items and focus more on items that are one-of-a-kind.

“People who are young still get there head turned by high-end things that they haven’t themselves personally owned because of easy credit,” Madsen said. “At our age, we have already had all of that stuff, and we realized that, actually, fairly cheap coffee makers make pretty good coffee.”

Bent and Rusty co-op board member Billie Eckhardt said it is the specialty items at the downtown shops that make it a great place to shop for unique gifts consumers such as Burke and Madsen are looking for that they can’t find elsewhere.

“You are going to find everything here that you can’t find at Wal-Mart, Amazon, Home Depot or anywhere else (where you can find) hand-crafted goods, antiques and custom one-off items,” Eckhardt said.

To prepare for holiday shoppers coming to the Bent and Rusty, the store’s employees are opening the basement to provide more room to display products that were popular during previous holiday seasons, she said.

“Our T-shirts are always (popular during the holidays, along with) our glassware, anything with Steamboat on it or anything Wyoming-themed,” Eckhardt said.

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