Schulman Crossing was attracting large numbers of Christmas shoppers for its last weekend before Christmas, but business owners in the downtown were also optimistic about what they were seeing Saturday in the way of shoppers, and said they were actually attracting as many or more shoppers than usual.
Dave and Deb Davinksky, who operate Davinsky’s Fine Things, an antiques shop on Main Street, said many of the customers who may have come from far away to shop at the new shops in Schulman are also visiting downtown and have been bringing in more business for the stores.
“Anytime there are newcomers in town, you’ll always attract people to come down to all the other areas,” Dave said.
Deb conceded that the new developments while they might be seen as having taken away some business from downtown, are good for Garden City as a whole.
Joan Lobmeyer, proprietor of the Family Book house, which opened in 1997, said there was no real change for her, as most of her customers were looking for presents. “As long as they are coming in to get Bibles, I am comfortable,” she said.
Downtown merchants have been promoting the Shop Small Saturday campaign to encourage Garden City residents to remember their businesses for the holidays.
“We have a very nice downtown,” said Heather Davis, of Davis Designs. She has been a longtime participant in Shop Small Saturdays and hopes people will consider spending local all year, not just during Christmas.
“What’s spent here stays here,” she said. “It’s helping that business owner. We can hire more people, maybe we can expand. All the businesses here offer quality products and great customer service. You’re not going to get that out at Schulman’s crossing.”
In addition to the action at the 180,000-square-foot Schulman Shopping Center, there was quite a bit of shopping activity at the strip mall on Kansas where JC Penny’s, Trade Home Shoes and Famous Footwear are located. Cars were seen driving around, waiting for spaces to open up so they could go into the store to make purchases as well.
Mat Thykkuttathio, who works at Famous Footwear said the crowds had been overwhelming. Even with the different stores selling shoes in the new malls, he said the traffic from out-of-town places like Dodge City had been particularly heavy.
“It is crazy,” Thykkuttathio said, as customers continued filing in to fill the store. He believed the numbers would likely decrease somewhat by the end of the weekend.