Last-minute rush | SteamboatToday.com

Last-minute rush

Shoppers hit local merchants for the perfect Christmas gifts

Mike McCollum

Steamboat Springs — With only 15 hours to go until Carley Romick's family planned to exchange gifts, the 17-year-old moved from one downtown store to another Monday afternoon looking for presents. — With only 15 hours to go until Carley Romick's family planned to exchange gifts, the 17-year-old moved from one downtown store to another Monday afternoon looking for presents.

— With only 15 hours to go until Carley Romick’s family planned to exchange gifts, the 17-year-old moved from one downtown store to another Monday afternoon looking for presents.

“This is very last minute,” Romick said as she shopped with her friend Ariel Josfan, who was also finishing her shopping.

“We decided to help each other out,” Romick said. “We are going around looking for collective little things to make one big thing : but parents are hard. They have everything they need already.”

Merchants downtown and at Ski Time Square said the throng of last-minute shoppers is a familiar scene, but many business owners reported sluggish holiday sales, while others said sales were average at best.

“The numbers aren’t as strong for us as it was last year, but it looks like the Chamber of Commerce barometer shows that there are less people in town,” said Linda Cullen, owner of the Quicksilver apparel store.

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“I’m seeing a lot more locals though,” she said. “I don’t think it’s been slow because the (Steamboat) Ski Area opened a week late, but I think I think it’s because Christmas falls on a Tuesday.”

Despite the slow start to the holiday shopping season, Cullen said Christmas Eve was shaping up to be a bustling day.

“It’s been crazy,” she said. “We’ve had two people at the cash registers all day, and I’ve been folding for the past two hours.”

Melissa LeBlanc, soft goods supervisor at Powder Divas, said business at the Ski Time Square ski and snowboard shop may be down slightly from last Christmas season, but sales have picked up in the last couple days.

“The delay of the mountain did slow down our start,” she said. “But we’ve had an increase in the hard goods, like skis and boots. More of the larger ticket items.”

LeBlanc said she too perceives an increase in local business. Popular Christmas Eve items included accessory items, such as scarves, hats and underwear.

Jan Lomas, owner of the Artisans Market of Steamboat, said business at the consignment art store is down from last year.

“Every other month this year has been up though,” she said. “But our biggest week is next week. People are here in town, and they will be taking Colorado gifts home.”

Lomas said it isn’t hard to point out the last minute shoppers. They typically have a list, have no idea what to buy and they are typically men.

“We usually get a lot of the same husbands in every year looking at new products,” she said.

All That Jazz owner Joe Kboudi said he’s a “happy man” this holiday season as business is on par or slightly up from past years.

“We’ve had lots and lots of local business for Christmas,” he said. “Today has been crazy, fun. Everybody in town seems to have come by the store today. They come in and chat, people say hi, we all wish each other a Merry Christmas.”

As Romick and Josfan continued their gift search at All That Jazz, Josfan said the last-minute search for presents is stressful, but a bit of a tradition.

“We’ve been shopping together most years,” she said. “Last minute is just kind of what we do.”