Shoppers packed malls Saturday and thronged small retailers in a race for last-minute gifts.
Parking lots were packed at retailers across town, but most people braving the lines seemed to stay in a holiday mood.
Sisters Kristen and Lauren Olson have different attitudes about shopping but both were at downtown boutique Terra Verde Saturday, one of the busiest retail days of the year.
“It’s fun shopping,” said Lauren, 24.
Without missing a beat, Kristen, 28, said, “I hate shopping.”
Chris Sondermann, owner of the 6,000-square foot Terra Verde for 20 years, said the Olson sisters were among thousands of people who visited her store on the last Saturday before Christmas.
“This is our busiest day of the year,” Sondermann said. “It’s a festive atmosphere.”
Terra Verde offers free refreshments, including wine, plus minstrel music from singers in period costume.
“They sing like angels,” Sondermann said.
Sondermann previously owned a business around the corner and said she only shops downtown. Kristen Olson prefers that, too.
“I try to shop more locally and Terra Verde is more unique than most places,” she said. “We care about where the money goes.”
The sisters —who tend to finish each other’s sentences more often than not — said they buy their mom a sweater at Terra Verde about every year.
Up north at the bustling Shops at Briargate, Karin Gilstrap carried several packages toward her car.
“Since I started working retail, I tend to wait till the last minute to shop,” said the lifestyle-mall worker turned shopper. “If I shop too early, I’m afraid I’ll see something I want more.”
Ashley Reddekopp waited in a checkout line of about 50 shoppers at beauty retailer Ulta while cradling her 8-month-old daughter Addison.
“My Christmas shopping was done two weeks ago but we’re leaving town and I needed some things for myself,” she said.
Saturday’s crush of consumerism was a bit daunting for some.
“Driving around town has been difficult, and finding a place to park here was almost impossible,” Reddekopp said.
That’s one reason Reddekopp shops frequently from home.
“I did way more online this year,” she said. “It’s so convenient and they deliver it to you.”
Contact Bob Stephens: 636-0276 Twitter @bobgstephens
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