Written by Malinda Just Wednesday, 26 September 2007 05:00
The consensus is clear. Despite adverse weather for the Hillsboro Arts & Crafts Fair on Sept. 15, visitors poured into local businesses and made the day a booming financial success.
“We doubled our business for the day,” said Joe Hampton, Alco store manager. “We actually did more (business) than we do the day before Christmas. I had a tremendous day.”
Hampton said Alco ran four registers all day, compared to the usual two registers.
“Everybody came in here for raincoats and ponchos, coats and any kind of hooded jackets,” he said. “We sold a tremendous amount of rain gear.”
By mid-morning Alco had sold out of umbrellas and rain ponchos.
Hillsboro True Value Hardware also sold out of ponchos early Saturday morning.
“We didn’t lay enough supply of $1.89 clear plastic ponchos, and with the first rain shower that came through Saturday morning, we sold out of more than 100 of those,” said Ken Koslowsky, co- owner of the store.
After selling out of ponchos, True Value offered clear plastic sheeting as well as trash bags for rain gear.
“For personal moisture protection, we sold trash bags by the bag and had scissors lying on the counter so they could cut their own neck and arm holes just to stay dry,” he said. “That’s really all we had to offer at that point.”
Carol Abrahams, Et Cetera Shop store manager, said customers were backed up in two lines on both sides of the registers until mid-afternoon.
“It was so busy that we had four people up at the register,” she said. “About 3:30 it slowed down a little bit, but never long enough to sit down or anything like that. We were busy all day.”
Et Cetera Shop volunteers and employees kept busy not only running the registers, but also digging out rain gear and winter items from the back room.
“I hadn’t put out winter caps and gloves yet because I thought it was a little bit too early,” Abrahams said. “And we had some more winter coats and jackets in the back, so we just went back and kept bringing it up and bringing it up.
“People kept buying it as fast as we would get it out because their hands were cold and they were wet.”
Diane Claassen, owner of Quilts and Quiltracks and The Corner Shops, and Nancy Klaassen, owner of Nancy’s Fashions, also saw increased business.
“Nancy’s Fashions had a very good day, but a different sort of day,” Klaassen said. “We sold many more small items, such as socks, gloves and umbrellas.
“The customer count was higher than usual and we also had quite a few come in just to warm up.”
Customers frequented Little Pleasures Coffeehouse, owned by Marisa Javier, to warm up with hot drinks. The line of waiting patrons ran into Thee Bookstore from 8 a.m. to about 4:45 p.m.
“We were never without a line of wet and cold patrons waiting patiently for a hot beverage, preferably hot chocolate,” she said. “By the end of the day, we went through 26 gallons of milk for those hot chocolates and cappuccinos.”
Olde Towne Restaurant had a heavier customer volume in the morning than on a normal year, said owner Linden Thiessen.
“People came in for cinnamon rolls and biscuits and gravy,” he said.
By early morning Thiessen sold out of cinnamon rolls, biscuits and gravy and hot chocolate, but had an abundance of food ready for afternoon patrons.
“In the afternoon we had plenty of food,” he said. “I don’t know that they could ever run us out of food.”0
“Things went really well,” Thiessen said. “Everything clicked this year.
“I’m glad the people still came out and we were still blessed in Hillsboro. I’m thankful that it worked out that way.”