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Local businesses prepare for holiday season

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe LeRoy and Monica Heideman, Spirit Lake, look over gift selections for their great-grandchild at the Li'l Wizards store in downtown Worthington.

WORTHINGTON -- It's that time of year again. Snow is falling, carolers are singing and Christmas pageants are on their last rehearsals. The holiday season is upon us.

As the holidays get closer, local businesses are preparing for the rush of shoppers.

Deb Steinle, store manager at JC Penney, said their business has been slower than usual.

"Usually we get a lot of business," Steinle said. "We've been a little less busy this year, but it has been picking up."

In previous years, Christmas Eve has been a busy time for the store.

"We get a lot of last minute shoppers," Steinle said.

The big seller items at Maurices and JC Penney this year include scarves, jeggings, women fashion boots, blazers and flannel shirts.

"Jeans are always popular this time of year too," Steinle said.

Johnson Jewelry found this year to be better compared to last year.

"We're a lot busier earlier this year than in past years," said Cheryl Fornoff, employee at Johnson Jewelry.

Johnson Jewelry does a lot of engraving and personalizing to add a special touch. The rise in early shoppers this year was a welcomed surprise.

"Usually we get people coming in two days before Christmas wanting something customized. It's a lot easier to get things customized if there's more time," Fornoff said.

Last year, the business sold a lot of watches. This year, rings have been the most popular.

"Last year we didn't sell as many high end items as this year. We do have items for every price range," Fornoff said.

The business also allows people to come in and create a wish list to make the holiday shopping easier for their loved ones.

"A lot of men are afraid to spend money on jewelry because they're afraid that they won't like it," Fornoff said. "With the wish list, we can help give them some direction."

Based on past years, the locally owned business expects they will get busier this week.

"We have extended hours, extra workers, and free gift wrapping to help last minute shoppers," she added.

The Internet has also helped business with local shopping.

Main Street Kids has found their Facebook page has helped them grow.

"We stay really busy, with customers from Northwest Iowa and the Sioux Falls area, and we also sell stuff off of Facebook," said Tae Nordby, manager at Main Street Kids.

Shoppers will see items on the Facebook page that they like, and will call the store at its location in downtown Worthington.

"They'll call us and we'll either ship it to them or hold it here in the store until they can pick it up," Nordby said. "Things do sell out quickly."

JC Penny, Maurices and Johnson Jewelry all have extended hours for the Holiday season and are open Christmas Eve.

Daily Globe Reporter Brianna Darling may be reached at 376-7321.