Stores gear up for the holidays

The national poll, which was conducted with 1,003 adults and conducted between Oct. 30 and Nov. 2, showed that only 38 percent of Americans started shopping for the holidays.

Consumer Reports said the figure was identical to last year, but that it was 5 percent below those who started shopping by the same time in 2006.

Three percent of respondents claimed they had completed their holiday shopping by the beginning of November, according to the report.

The Saratoga Shoe Depot and the I Love Books store in Delmar both said they were ready for the holidays.

"We've got all of the holiday merchandise on the shelves and we are fully stocked for the season," said Melissa Steen, owner of I Love Books. "All of our club members will be getting discounts."

Steen said they are keeping regular hours on the Black Friday weekend and she expects a good turnout.

"Local independent stores don't have the kind of crazy, hectic shopping like the bigger chain stores do," she said. "But we've been pretty steady and weather permitting, I think it's going to be a wonderful weekend."

Her philosophy is that holiday shopping is here, bad economy and all.

"Christmas still happens. Even in a recession, people have to shop," Steen said.

Victor Cusato, who manages the Saratoga Shoe Depot off of Delaware Avenue, said he hopes Black Friday still spurs holiday shopping like in years past.

"In a weak economy were waiting for the tide to turn and to get into the holiday shopping," he said. "Shopping has certainly started later this year than in others."

Although his store "has certainly seen better times," Cusato said that the fuzzy boots seen on the feet of women everywhere, called Ugg Footwear, are a big seller.

"Those have been dynamite for us," Cusato said. "We have a window display facing Delaware Avenue dedicated to them."

Cusato said he is keeping hopeful considering the bad economy.

"The new 'up' is 'flat,' so that's kind of how I'm riding it," he said. "This is the kick off for the busiest shopping season of the year."

DeLaney said buying local just makes financial sense.

"The universal message is: supporting local business saves customers time and money, helps with our tax base and keeps the local economy going," she said. ""

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