Stores receive "gold" from Games

Posted: Thursday, March 16, 2006

Besides being good for the sake of athletic competitiveness and entertainment on the Kenai Peninsula, the 2006 Arctic Winter Games were good for many businesses.

The juniors’ department at Gottschalks was “shopped hard,” according to manager Cecilia Daniel.

Sales in the Fred Meyer home electronics section were up 60 percent, and adult visitors bought a lot of Pendleton and Carhartt brand clothing at Sweeney’s Clothing in Soldotna.

In addition to clothing in junior’s sizes, Gottschalks also did a good business in brand-name clothes, denim and cosmetics, Daniel said.

“We had a sales increase for the week,” she said, declining to give out specific sales figures.

Despite the fact that scores of young shoppers were seen toting Gottschalks shopping bags all day Saturday, Daniel said the store did not run out of anything.

“We were pretty well stocked. We were prepared,” she said.

Ipods were the big seller in the Fred Meyer home electronics department, according to Assistant Manager Mary Wilson.

Sales of shoes also “were huge,” she said.

“Some kids bought six, seven, eight, nine pairs,” Wilson said.

Clothing in junior’s sizes sold well there, as in Gottschalks, and she said Levi’s brand jeans did well.

“Juniors’ was incredible,” she said. “In health and beauty, shampoos and conditioner went well, and, of course, candy.”

Wilson said some of the store’s departments had increased sales of 30 percent and “photo was close to 60 percent up.”

Some of the young Games visitors were intrigued by the store’s self-serve checkout lanes.

“They liked the motorized mart carts. They found them pretty entertaining,” Wilson said.

Some of the clerks at Sweeney’s said they expected more of a crowd of young shoppers, but Floor Manager Larry Shafer said, “We didn’t get the kids. We got the adults.

“They were buying the cultural designs,” Shafer said, referring to Pendleton jackets featuring Navajo Indian designs.

People from Canada’s Northwest Territories bought a lot of shoes and boots at Sweeney’s.

“They could get them at a reasonable price,” Shafer said.

He said some of the younger people who came into the store reported having trouble getting automated teller machines to accept their bank cards.

“I picked up three kids from Greenland out front and gave them a ride to Wells Fargo so they could exchange their money.

“They thanked me and thanked me all the way back,” Shafer said. “They were a great bunch of kids.”

At Home Depot in Kenai, Manager Nick Erickson said, “I don’t think (the Games) affected us positively or negatively.”

He said he did not see a run on anything in particular.

“We sold a little bit of kerosene to the (Arctic Winter Games) organization, and we donated a good amount of materials.”

Kenai Safeway Manager Doug Jung said he saw a little bit of an increase, though not as much as he expected.

“A lot of the events were over in Soldotna and businesses there did pretty well,” he said.

“We did a little bit in the bakery, a little in the deli. Probably the biggest increase was in our Alaska souvenir section,” Jung said.

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