Driving through high-traffic areas to shop for Christmas gifts could bring the holiday spirit of Santa’s jolliest elf to a screeching halt.
Even the best laid shopping plans and the cheer of a favorite Christmas song can be tested with stop-and-go traffic and long lines. But as Claremore resident Brook Easton drives up to Ne-Mar Shopping Center on Will Rogers Boulevard, she approaches a parking area located near the front door of a store and steps out.
Like many Rogers County residents, she is choosing to keep her Christmas shopping local this year.
Easton says she is hoping to not only avoid the hustle-and-bustle of big city shopping, but also make an effort to keep her money local.
A teacher at Northeast Technology Center in Claremore, she was one of several business professionals to participate in Leadership Rogers County, and because of lessons learned in the class, she plans to shop exclusively at Claremore businesses.
This year, she will be heading to Hibbett Sports, J&J Pharmacy, Floral Creations and Hillary’s Boutique, among others in town.
“I’ve really learned how our city and county use the sales tax funds, and it made me see the impact that going to another area and shopping makes on my community,” Easton said. “I may have to go to two or three stores, rather than getting several items in one big store, but I really enjoy the stores we have in Claremore. I’m looking forward to going into a lot of the shops downtown that I haven’t had a chance to go into yet.”
As the mother of two children, Easton says sports apparel is a popular item in her household and for those items she is shopping primarily in Hibbett Sports, located in Ne-Mar Shopping Center.
Hibbett’s has about 800 stores nationwide, and carries a range of sports and outdoor clothing, as well as athletic footwear.
“The Nike Elite socks are right up my son’s alley,” Easton laughed.
Easton said that through Leadership Rogers County she and the other participants were better able to understand the importance of trying to spend their money in Claremore, so it could be utilized for community efforts and city services.
She has made an effort to shop locally throughout the year, adding her name to mailing lists of local shops for coupons and sale opportunities.
“It’s just so important to try and keep your dollars within your community for the benefit of your community,” Easton said. “It requires a bit more diligence, and the hardest part for me is to not lean toward online shopping, but it can be done.”
Chris Linn, store manager for Hibbett Sports in Claremore, says this is an important time of the year for all retailers, and it’s a fun experience for he and his staff to help people in the community with Christmas items.
“Christmas gifts are fun,” Linn said. “Letting parents know what is popular and what kids are wanting gives you a good feeling. People often come in needing a gift for a certain person, and helping families find that gift is what makes this time of the year special.”
The Ne-Mar Shopping Center has been part of Claremore retail since 1967, and houses several stores on Will Rogers Boulevard.
For the third year, its parking area is featuring a 33-foot Christmas tree.
Steve and Terrie Neely, who are among the family ownership of Ne-Mar Shopping Center, head up the Christmas tree efforts for the Center.
The tree will serve as a “Toys for Tots” drop off location during the Claremore Christmas parade, which is slated for 6 p.m. on Dec. 14.