Claremore Daily Progress

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November 29, 2013

Holiday Shopping At Home

Downtown shops offers unique Christmas gifts

CLAREMORE — There is a skylight in the center of Wolf Productions A Gallery of the Arts in downtown Claremore that adds to the already natural beauty of the business’s artwork.

The light shines across the gallery’s antique ceiling tiles and reaches owner John David Wolf, who greets visitors with a smile behind his trademark beard, familiar to those who have walked through the doors.

Wolf’s business is decked out in Christmas attire, like many of the shops in the downtown area, adding to the storybook setting along the streets.

The glow of Christmas lights shines around some of the artwork of the 60 artists represented inside, and unique pieces ranging from oil paintings to pottery, and jewelry to hand-blown glass wait, glistening on shelves.   

The unique items available are what draw longtime Claremore resident Ludmila Robson to Wolf’s gallery. Robson, along with her husband Frank, have been an active members of the Claremore community for many years, and intend to do a great deal of her Christmas shopping in Claremore.

She says that shops in the downtown area are particularly appealing to her because they offer many items relatively unavailable in mainstream stores.

“The gallery is so nice, and it offers a unique selection of items,” Robson said. “I will do some Christmas shopping there — it will probably be the main place I shop.”

Wolf’s gallery is one of many businesses in the thriving downtown Claremore area that will be available for local shopping this year. He has been in business for about six-and-a-half years and says his patrons appreciate the one-of-a-kind element the gallery pieces lend, an attribute common to many of the downtown shops.

“Everything we sell are things you don’t necessarily find anywhere else,” Wolf explained.

“I really like the coffee mugs,” Robson laughed. “I like to look at all the unique things like that and see what I can pick up for gifts.”

Wolf also discussed the importance of supporting his and other local shops for the benefit of the community’s economic stimulation. He pointed out that in addition to being a Claremore business, many of the artists featured in the gallery are also local.

“When people don’t shop locally, small towns die,” Wolf stated. “And not only are we a local business, we are also a business that is representing 20 or 30 artists from the Claremore area.”

One of the nation’s busiest Christmas-shopping days has become known as Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving. Now growing in awareness, however, is Small Business Saturday, akin to Black Friday and Cyber Monday and is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country.

It was founded in 2010, to support small businesses such as those in the downtown Claremore area, and has since been recognized each year the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year, Small Business Saturday will fall on Nov. 30.

Wolf says the holiday shopping events are an important stimulator for foot traffic into his gallery, often creating buying scenarios, if not direct-buying situations. He says local events such as Dickens on the Boulevard have been helpful for business in the past.

“Dickens on the Boulevard is a lot of fun for me and other store owners in this area,” Wolf said. “That event often generates ideas. Somebody will notice something and then somebody else will come back and pick it up later.”

The event is held in the downtown Claremore area and features food, Victorian-era re-enactors, wagon rides and festive shop windows. And, Tales from the Top: Upper Floor Tours and Stories, will offer tours of the top floor of Claremore’s historic buildings.

Dickens on the Boulevard has become a holiday tradition in the downtown Claremore area and one the business owners look forward to, explains Cindy Bissett executive director for Claremore Main Street, which heads up the event.

“The stores downtown treat it as a kick-off to the holiday season,” Bissett said. “There are period craftsmen and an authentic chuck wagon, along with carolers and a host of activities. It is truly a downtown event, and there is something for everybody.”

For more information about Dickens on the Boulevard, contact Claremore Main Street at (918) 341-5881 or mainstreet@claremore.org, or go to www.downtownclaremore.org.

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