The first day of this season's Magic of Birmingham had shoppers busy Saturday, as hundreds flooded downtown streets to buy local as part of the holiday shopping season.
As part of the event, dozens of red ornanaments were handed out to downtown shoppers throughout the day, with notes inside directing shoppers to pick up a special gift, one of 2,000 to be given away throughout the two-weekend-long event.
This weekend's lucky shopper was Rosemary Kelly of Macomb, who recieved a free diamond necklace from Astrein's Creative Jewelry.
The Magic of Birmingham continues next weekend, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Dec. 17.
We asked Birmingham business owners how the shopping season has been going so far this year. This is what they had to say:
- How has business been during the holiday season so far? ”Our biggest problem has been keeping our store stocked,” said Kurtis Sievers, sales associate. “We bottle as we go, and we’re chasing our tails trying to make sure we have enough product on the floor to meet the demand.”
- Has the Magic of Birmingham helped sales? “Today, it’s been very busy already and it’s only 11 a.m.,” said Sievers.
- A recommended gift: Juniper Berry Balsamic Vinegar — $15.95/375 mL bottle — has a distinct flavor that is only available during the holiday season. According to Sievers, it's good for drizzling on a roast or dessert, like bread pudding.
- How has business been during the holiday season so far? “It’s been very busy and people recognize us from some of our other stores,” said Jody D’Angelo, store manager. “We’re just getting the word out and it’s been a really good experience so far.”
- Has the Magic of Birmingham helped sales? “I do think so, it’s just the time of the year and there’s been a lot of foot traffic,” said D’Angelo. “We’re also a new store, and that brings people in as well.”
- A recommended gift: Catalina Long-Sleeve Shirt — $155. A comfortable nylon/spandex material that is the signature piece of this “classic Americana with a twist” store, D'Angelo said.
- How has business been during the holiday season so far? “So far, it’s been great ... we had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend which really kicked things off and we’ve just had a really great year,” said Jillian Lenko, women’s buyer.
- Has the Magic of Birmingham helped sales? “I think that any event that really brings the community together helps,” said Lenko. “Birmingham is such a tight-knit community and people who live here and shop here want to support local businesses, so I think it all makes a difference.”
- A recommended gift: Brightly-colored denim — $158. In all colors, it’s a fresh holiday trend that really brings out the wardrobe with a modern twist.
- How has business been during the holiday season so far? ”It’s been going very good for us,” said Jessica Pierce, sales associate. “We’ve been getting different things in and we’re very eclectic and so, it’s easy to find something for everyone on their list.”
- Has the Magic of Birmingham helped sales? “I think so, because it brings in people who maybe haven’t been in the store before and they’ll see something they like and recommend it to someone else,” said Pierce.
- A recommended gift: Michael Aram ornaments — $44. In shapes such as apples, pears and more, these ornaments can be hung on a Christmas tree, or around the house year-round.
- How has business been during the holiday season so far? “People are buying the wine but it seems like everyone sort of waits until the last minute, it’s odd,” said Ed Bossen, proprietor. “Boom, we get all of our sales in three days.”
- Has the Magic of Birmingham helped sales? “All of the little things that the city has done have helped us a lot,” said Bossen. “People always come out for events like that.”
- A recommended gift: A gift card. It comes in any price and will please customers by letting them pick and choose to meet their tastes, Bossen said.