For each Christmas, there seems to be that one item that everyone has to have.
Consumers have fought over Cabbage Patch Kids, drove countless miles to find a Teddy Ruxpin, or camped out over night to save a few dollars on smart phones and digital televisions.
For many shoppers, the new trend this year may not be the latest toy or gadget - but shopping at smaller, privately-owned retail establishments in their own neighborhoods.
Jeff Krekeler, owner of Krekeler Jewelers, says he believes shoppers are looking to the independent, "mom and pop" retail shops to find something unique.
Krekeler can customize a piece for his customer and offer pieces that the large box stores can’t.
“This is a niche we fill,” Krekeler said. “We can offer something of quality, something of value and something that will last.”
According to Krekeler, even though the season is just beginning, retailers are very encouraged by the start of this year’s holiday shopping season. The local jeweler said he sees more people investing in significant gifts such as Kendra Scott and diamonds – including earrings and engagement rings.
“We are really encouraged with the start of the Christmas season,” Krekeler said. “It seems people are investing in significant gifts. We are seeing a real desire for diamond jewelry, and yellow gold is picking up in popularity again. In addition, white gold, and of course, sterling silver are also doing well.”
Other small, local businesses are also finding the start of this year’s Christmas season to be an exciting time for them as more and more people are deciding to stay close to home and shop.
Country Junction Primitives is a local retailer seeing a boost in sales as the Christmas shopping season takes off.
According to owner Loretta Barnhouse, she sees a couple of trends beginning at her establishment.
“One of the things I have noticed is people come in looking for presents, but end up buying something for themselves,” Barnhouse said. “It’s really hard not to.”
Barnhouse said a popular item this year are blinking lights - whether with a wreath, wrapped around a tree or Christmas ornament.
“Blinking lights are very popular this year,” said Tessa Brewer, who was shopping on Tuesday afternoon. “I have my whole house decorated with them. I also love the light-up ornaments as well. The soft glow is very pretty.”
Barnhouse added that light-up pictures and cardinals have also been a big seller for her so far this season.
One Farmington business sees the same trend year after year that, for the most part, goes unnoticed by most local consumers.
Each year, as the Christmas season rolls around, Plummers ACE Hardware sees an upswing in certain items essential for a festive looking home.
“Hardware stores are more about getting your task list accomplished,” said Scott Plummer. “People come here to purchase lights, extension cords and timers. It’s the things you need to decorate your home for Christmas.”
But although they are not a traditional store for Christmas shopping, Plummer also said he notice an upswing in new customers.
“We just had a woman in the store who I hadn’t seen before,” Plummer said. “She was buying a couple of gifts, so we are seeing that more and more. I think people are becoming more and more aware of the locally-owned small business.”