The days after Christmas often represent another “Black Friday” of their own as shoppers hurry to stores looking to snap up sales, return and exchange merchandise, or burn their recently acquired gift cards.
Shoppers in downtown Naperville said that looking for sales or making exchanges were on their agenda. Marie Peckenpaugh of Naperville said shopping after Christmas was part of her regular routine.
“We alternate celebrating Christmas and Thanksgiving with family and this year, our Christmas celebration will be Saturday,” Peckenpaugh said on Thursday. “I needed a few more gifts before our ‘Christmas’ so I bought a few things today and also got a few items on sale for next year. I found that a lot of things are selling for half price.”
The Larson family from Elgin, which included husband Erik, his wife Michelle, and 5-year-old daughter Tori, were likewise visiting stores in Naperville as the family was shopping for Michelle’s birthday. She said that shopping right after Christmas is something she normally avoids, but a cooking class held for kids at the Naperville Sur La Table brought them to town.
About a dozen children sat in the cooking area of the Sur La Table store for the monthly program, which staff member Holly Amore said would offer kids a two-hour, hands-on cooking program.
“We’ve done this for a number of years here, and it gives parents a chance to go and shop by themselves or do whatever they want,” Amore said.
The Naperville Apple Store has been busy post-Christmas. Jason Demas and his daughter Jenna of Yorkville visited recently. Jason explained that “Santa was good this year” and that he and his daughter had to return an iPad mini which wasn’t working properly.
“The wi-fi connection wasn’t working right, and the people in the Apple store were great about exchanging it,” Demas said.
Those visiting from out of town like Michael and Armanda Buening of New York, who were staying with Michael’s parents in Wheaton, welcomed the casual environment as they shopped with their niece and nephew Tom and Carissa Yonan, who live in Michigan.
“We’re going to use some gift cards and maybe visit the Apple store here,” Michael said. “We kind of like the fact that it’s not crowded down here and people can just walk around without being jammed in together.”
Merchants like Tres Anderson of Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville had their own theories as to why the post-Christmas rush seemed a little quieter this year.
“We don’t get a lot of returns normally because when people buy someone a book, it’s usually a request or a purchase based on a recommendation,” Anderson said. “We’ve had a few people in here using gift cards.”
Deborah Schneider, who manages the Marbles: The Brain Store in Naperville said she hoped a first-time 25 percent off sale on certain merchandise would bring customers into the store.
“We’ve seen a lot of people from out of town visiting here over the last few years, which has really increased our business after Christmas,” she said. “Right now our stock levels are good, and most of the exchanges we make wind up being some kind of other sale.”