Terry Koyano’s 8-year-old granddaughter loves baking. In the third week of December, the grandmother-granddaughter pair spent hours in the kitchen baking Christmas cookies. And unlike Terry’s other two grandkids, the 8-year-old enjoys baking for baking’s sake — not simply using it as an excuse to hang out with her grandma (although that is also a plus).
Which is why Terry — along with her mother and her husband, Art — bought her granddaughter a quilted apron for Christmas at downtown Madison Park’s Red Wagon.
Terry and her mother bought gifts for the other two children as well at Red Wagon, including a calico critter toy for a 4-year-old.
But for Terry, shopping at Red Wagon is a given. Terry’s daughter, Leslie Koyano, works at Red Wagon, providing impetus for the mutigenerational family to cross items off holiday gift lists at the cheery, well-lit store. Several of the family members also live in Madison Park.
“We could spend all day at Red Wagon,” Terry said. “Not just spending money but playing with the stuff, too.”
Red Wagon, like other local Madison Park shops, has reportedly done well this holiday season.
“We’ve had a really good year, with lots of toy selling,” said Georgina Faulkner, manager at Red Wagon. “In particular, we sold many of our Mr. Robot’s, a remote-controlled robot who dances. We also have one-of-a-kind handmade doll clothes that fit the American Girl doll.”
The doll clothes have been “a phenomenal sales item for us,” she said.
The store’s “squishables” — large, round, fuzzy pillow-like critters — were another top seller.
“We sell fun stuff to adults, too” Faulkner added.
However, it is difficult for Faulkner to gauge if this holiday season’s sales are significantly up from last year’s.
“I would like to say it’s been better, but we have a little bit more time to go” before profit facts can be meaningful, she said.
Faulkner speculated that this year is most likely favorable for local shops because Thanksgiving came out early and people had an extra weekend, amounting to extra time to shop.
“In 2013, we’ll do well,” she said. “The toy business is generally good — people will always find something for their children. Barring any unseen disasters, we should do even better than last year.”
Other Madison park shops reported doing well, too.
Leo Bernard, owner of Madison Park Jewelers, said Madison Park’s residents prefer to support local business.
“It’s a very loyal neighborhood, and people enjoy shopping down here,” he said. “It’s been a good season — probably as good if not better than last year’s.”
Bernard said customers are shopping for gifts for the people they love, as they do usually.
“We do a lot of custom-design work, which we do all year long and at Christmas time. In 2013, I think we’ll continue much the same as we have. I’m looking forward to the new year.”
John Sheard, owner of Cookin at Madison Park, also looks forward to the new year.
“It’s going to be about the same [as], if not better than, last year because of the economy,” he said.
Sheard said that customers are looking for the “good” stuff: “They want good customer service, good quality items and good things.”
Best sellers included items in the linen section.
This holiday season, Rob Branson bought earrings for his wife, kitchen items, skiing equipment and sporting goods — mindful that his gift choices are of high quality.
“I am looking to buy people stuff that has value,” he said, “things they can use.”
On Dec. 23, Branson made a last-minute gift dash to Cookin in Madison Park, where he bought a 12-inch skillet.
And like many Madison Park shoppers, Branson prefers to shop local.
“I avoid the malls and big stores,” he said.
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