eMailMax 12/19/15 : Page 1

New Years Eve ECRWSS Local Postal Customer 2016 Guide on pages 11,12,&13 December 19, 2015 Paper. News Your Good www.MailMaxOnline.com POSTMASTER: Please deliver on December 19, 2015 Volume 16, Ver. 51 Moody on The Market M oody Pat W hen it comes to Christmas shopping, if you find yourself Stumped in Stevensville or Clueless in Coloma ...a little peek behind the curtain at a number of local retailers might at least help the process by telling you what the hot-sellers are in the holiday season thus far. With a nice cross-section of retailers in close proximity to one another in the central business district of St. Joseph, I decided to capitalize on the pleasant weather conditions last weekend and venture door to door to see what peo-ple are buying in this gift-giving season of fun. I asked the merchants I was able to connect with a couple of quick questions. What’s the hot seller, trend, or must-have item in your shop this Christmas? On the lighter side I also asked what the most bizarre or offbeat item or service being sought in each store might be. Perhaps you’ll get a few ideas of your own from the composite results. All the shops visited were along State Street downtown, or the various side-streets connected to State. Here’s what I found: Jewelfire Diamond Center --Best sellers were the “dancing” diamond pendants and diamond earrings. Mary says the oddest request was for creation of an elk’s tooth necklace a few years ago. Bagatini’s Music Mart --Hot sellers are guitars and ukuleles almost evenly split. Ed Bagatini says this is the third year in a row for strong uke sales. “Everybody wants to be a musician!” he says. On the odd side, he just recently ordered a Concertina for a customer, something he can’t recall ever having been asked for before. Candlestick Maker --Ed Bennett says his pho-tos of the St. Joseph Lighthouse have been huge sell-ers in light of the Lighthouse Forever Fund restoration project. Everything from single 4x6-inch prints to huge 40 x 60 inch canvas creations. Candles have also been selling well and beach glass is very hot this season. From the strange files, a recent request for “low tem-perature candles” for use in sex play somewhat caught him off guard. Purely Michigan --Retro-style Michigan mit-tens, aprons and oven mitts have been over the top as well as newly arriving 50’s and 60’s style Michigan memorabilia. On the quirky side, the new owner made the mistake of joking that he was going to have an “ Ohio corner for clearance items that nobody wants,” until he realized the customer was from Ohio! Oops! Bound for Freedom --Exclusive hand-made jewelry is far and away the huge seller in the house, and the oddest request so far was for deodorant, something they clearly do not carry. Bella’s Boutique Consignment Store --Despite the unseasonably warm weather, coats and scarves have been in bid demand. Lana’s Boutique --Scarves have been huge at Lana’s, too...along with leggings for seemingly all ages. Perhaps the oddest request was for a sewing kit. Lazy Daisy --Candles have been best sellers for the Lazy Daisy along with handbags and the quirky wooden signs with various quotes and sayings. Interestingly, although the store is clearly targeted at women, a request for cuff links seemed a bit out of place. Friends by Design --Diva Dolls necklaces from Paris have been flying off the shelves, especially since there’s no need to size them, they are reasonably prices and also make great stocking stuffers. The offbeat HOLIDAY AND SAVE WHEN YOU DONATE TO TOYS FOR TOTS Offer expires December 31, 2015. Call or ask Member Services for more details. This month, donate two new toys to the Toys for Tots Foundation at one of our deposit boxes and we’ll take $ 50 off your RAC joining fee. MAKE A CHILD’S racbh.com | 269.927.1129 | 501 Graham Avenue, Benton Harbor, MI 49022 Inserts & Promotions MailMax is a publication of Far Ahead Advertising, Inc. 2202 Plaza Drive Benton Harbor, MI 49022 Phone: 269.934.7522 FAX: 269.934.3297 email: publisher@farahead.com www.MailMaxOnline.com •www.facebook.com/eMailMax • Martins Super Markets •Hardings Friendly Market • Harbor Freight Tool • New Years Eve Center Spread Inserts may vary by Zip Code Continued on page 8

Moody On The Market

Pat Moody

When it comes to Christmas shopping, if you find yourself Stumped in Stevensville or Clueless in Coloma...a little peek behind the curtain at a number of local retailers might at least help the process by telling you what the hot-sellers are in the holiday season thus far. With a nice cross-section of retailers in close proximity to one another in the central business district of St. Joseph, I decided to capitalize on the pleasant weather conditions last weekend and venture door to door to see what people are buying in this gift-giving season of fun. I asked the merchants I was able to connect with a couple of quick questions. What’s the hot seller, trend, or musthave item in your shop this Christmas? On the lighter side I also asked what the most bizarre or offbeat item or service being sought in each store might be. Perhaps you’ll get a few ideas of your own from the composite results. All the shops visited were along State Street downtown, or the various side-streets connected to State. Here’s what I found:

Jewelfire Diamond Center -- Best sellers were the “dancing” diamond pendants and diamond earrings. Mary says the oddest request was for creation of an elk’s tooth necklace a few years ago.

Bagatini’s Music Mart -- Hot sellers are guitars and ukuleles almost evenly split. Ed Bagatini says this is the third year in a row for strong uke sales. “Everybody wants to be a musician!” he says. On the odd side, he just recently ordered a Concertina for a customer, something he can’t recall ever having been asked for before.

Candlestick Maker -- Ed Bennett says his photos of the St. Joseph Lighthouse have been huge sellers in light of the Lighthouse Forever Fund restoration project. Everything from single 4x6-inch prints to huge 40 x 60 inch canvas creations. Candles have also been selling well and beach glass is very hot this season. From the strange files, a recent request for “low temperature candles” for use in sex play somewhat caught him off guard.

Purely Michigan -- Retro-style Michigan mittens, aprons and oven mitts have been over the top as well as newly arriving 50’s and 60’s style Michigan memorabilia. On the quirky side, the new owner made the mistake of joking that he was going to have an “Ohio corner for clearance items that nobody wants,” until he realized the customer was from Ohio! Oops!

Bound for Freedom -- Exclusive hand-made jewelry is far and away the huge seller in the house, and the oddest request so far was for deodorant, something they clearly do not carry.

Bella’s Boutique Consignment Store -- Despite the unseasonably warm weather, coats and scarves have been in bid demand.

Lana’s Boutique -- Scarves have been huge at Lana’s, too...along with leggings for seemingly all ages. Perhaps the oddest request was for a sewing kit.

Lazy Daisy -- Candles have been best sellers for the Lazy Daisy along with handbags and the quirky wooden signs with various quotes and sayings. Interestingly, although the store is clearly targeted at women, a request for cuff links seemed a bit out of place.

Friends by Design -- Diva Dolls necklaces from Paris have been flying off the shelves, especially since there’s no need to size them, they are reasonably prices and also make great stocking stuffers. The offbeat request came from someone in search of a Reindeer Sweater for an ugly Christmas sweater event at an office party being held that night. Sorry, not at Friends by Design!

State Street Stuff -- Kind of hard to consider a bizarre request there since that’s the over-arching theme of virtually the entire store. In fact, the best seller all year long has been an off-color liquid hand soap. They also see “anything from Dr. Who” disappear as quickly as it gets put into stock rotation. All sorts of things with swear words involved are also rapid sellers. Incidentally, if you or someone you know is looking for permanent part time employment, visit the store soon. They are in desperate need of retail sales help immediately.

Forever Books -- Owner Robin Allen says despite the fact it has been on the best seller list for more than a year, the fiction book, “All the Light We Cannot See” is still a major top pick. On the non-fiction side of the house, “The Oregon Trail” continues to be the top seller, along with all sorts of World War II books. The weirdest request she and her staff could recall was a lady who wanted a book, “How to Raise Goats.” Unfortunately, she didn’t have it.

FuzzyButz Pet Bakery -- Mary Schaut says “Christmas treats.” Pure and simple. She adds, “My hands hurt, my feet hurt,” and she makes Christmas treats for your furry friends virtually around the clock. She can’t recall a terribly offbeat request, but she vividly recalls a vendor who tried to sell her on stocking “the cheesiest, cheapest, virtually worthless dog shower” device she had ever seen.

South Bend Chocolate Cafe -- A clerk labeled “Peppermint Patty” brainstormed with “Big Tim” to say that their Snowballs have been huge sellers -- combining caramel corn, cinnamon stick and white chocolate flavors for a crowd favorite. As for the most offbeat request, that came from a customer one day looking for a chocolate statue of Mike Tyson.

Sweet Dreams -- Cupcakes and the famous Waggoner Chocolates have been flying off the shelves of the new candy store and bakery, and they’re still too new to have processed anything truly offbeat at this juncture.

Grins of St. Joseph -- Store Manager Wendy says gloves have been big sellers, but the most popular item in the store has been “the World’s Softest Socks.” Wendy says that everybody who buys a pair inevitably returns to buy at least one more pair within hours or days of their purchase. They range in prices from $7.50 to $13.50 a pair. The weirdest incident for Wendy was when a woman called the Grins of Saugatuck store and wanted a black and red shirt she had seen. Oh, she had seen it in a totally unrelated store in Holland and wanted to know if Grins had it. Fortunately for everybody, the woman eventually found it online.

Third Coast Surf Shop -- Far and away the top seller this Christmas has been Third Coast’s private label stocking cap with a button ball on top. Since they are dedicated to surfing and stand up paddle boarding and clothing, the request for archery arrows threw them for a loop one day. Sorry...not here.

Schaller Gallery -- Not surprising in a custom, artisan-created, pottery shop the top seller is “pottery.” The occasional odd request for things like hand-crafted pottery versions of egg-separators and ash trays tend to launch a chuckle and a raised eyebrow from time to time. The store features the first-class art work of some 80 artists, so the question “Do you make all of these things in the back of the store?” tends to trigger a bit of incredulity, as well.

The Toy Company -- There wasn’t a moment’s hesitation to identify “Anomia -- The Fun Party Game” as the runaway best seller at The Toy Company. The fast-paced, high energy game is rapidly becoming a popular one. Anomia, by the way, is the technical term for a brain-freeze, so you can figure the rest from there. The odd requests at The Toy Company stem from the myriad questions regarding licensed character-oriented toys tied to major films and TV shows. The Toy Company is a uniquely different sort of store with independent, educational and instructional toys and the like.

The Black Rose -- an independent jeweler who reports there is no such thing as a trend or best seller, inasmuch as each piece is truly unique and different and the clientele seek all sorts of special gifts there.

D.K Boutique -- Jamie says Pandora continues to be the hottest seller in the house, but clothing items featuring fringe have been big this season as well as delicate necklaces, sweaters and even ponchos. Perhaps the most bizarre request was from a Pandora collector asking for a charm featuring a tarantula...clearly something that is not in the line up!

Kilwin’s Chocolates, Fudge & Ice Cream -- Turtle apples and customized gift baskets rule the roost at Kilwin’s, but seasonal peppermint fudge is rapidly gaining with Christmas drawing close. The offbeat requests for chocolate-covered bacon pop up most often, and while Kilwin’s does not offer it, they do have a bacon truffle in the house. They also get oddball requests for things like deep-fried Twinkies occasionally.

The Natural Gem -- the crew at The Natural Gem says it’s hard to put a finger on any sort of trend other than a steady stream of gold and jewelry repair jobs. It has been a slow Christmas season thus far for them, and rocks, fossils and minerals have been in the spotlight.

St. Joseph Today -- The Welcome Center’s top request this season has been for extra copies of the St. Joseph City Calendar distributed by the city itself. They have extra copies and many people like to send them to out of town family members.

Edgewater Gifts -- Glass St. Joseph Lighthouse ornaments have been hot sellers at Edgewater, along with jewelry items, scarves and handbags. Occasional requests for bottle cozies and musical ornaments have popped up, but the interesting line from those unsure of what to get typically say, “I don’t know what I’m looking for, but I’ll know it when I see it!”

G&M Variety Store -- One of the oldest, longest running retailers in the city is the dime store and Gloria Mance says, “Believe it or not the biggest seller this Christmas has been adult coloring books and colored pencils to finish them with.” She says she has already submitted her fifth re-order with some vendors, meaning they have sold literally 100’s of adult coloring books this year. Gloria says business at the venerable old store is as strong as ever, and “there’s been virtually no slow down since summer ended, either.” An entire category that isn’t selling yet, thanks to the weather, includes sleds, shovels, ice melt, and snow brushes. That will all change with the next snowfall, though, so Gloria’s not worried.

Lazy Ballerina Winery -- Lauren Kniebes says “sweet wines” have been the top sellers at the Lazy Ballerina. The offbeat requests for “dandelion wine” leave her scratching her head, and then, there are requests for beer, too.

White Pine Winery -- right next door to the Lazy Ballerina, fellow vintners at White Pine Winery hear routine requests for Pear Wine or Moscato, two styles they do not make...and also bids for organic wine. The hot seller for White Pine, without question, is their Dune Shadow Red according to Michele. In the white wine line up, they also do exceptionally well with their Traminette.

V. A Bootery -- Smart Wool socks are red hot right now, but boots are languishing due to the mild weather. Landis Clothing Company -- Doug & Dave Landis sell a lot of sport shirts, sweaters and jackets this time of year, and another hot seller is the micro-fiber corduroy pants. Christmas is typically big for belts, dress shirts and ties, too.

Moxie’s Boutique -- With our huge love for the cell phone, Moxie’s sells a ton of “charger purses,” the purse that once charged itself will recharge your cell phone up to three times before the purse itself needs to be recharged. They work for both Apple and Android products and are both “cool and functional,” according to Moxie’s crew. Sweaters are also selling big now. One of the oddest requests was for velvet pants...but the equally baffling question from a customer holding up a simple black skirt was “What can I wear with this?” (The answer, apparently, is ummmm....virtually ANYTHING??)

Gallery on the Alley -- “American made” is the number one request for the hand-crafted pieces at Gallery on the Alley which is easy to match up since virtually everything in the house is Made in America. The oddest requests Vicki gets, however, are for her store fixtures or decorations which are simply not for sale.

Mimi’s Cupcakes -- While the Candy Cane Oreo Cupcakes are rapidly rising here in the holiday season, the number one seller virtually all year at Mimi’s Cupcakes has been the Cookie Dough Cupcake. While they do feature a “gluten friendly” option, one person simply turned on her heels and stormed out upon learning that there was no such thing in the house as a “gluten free, dairy free, vegan cupcake.” Oh well...

HarborTown Interiors -- Sofas are flying out the door at HarborTown as well as colorfast Sunbrella upholstered fabric pieces. Trendy colors are blues, turquoises, teals and aquas and throw rugs for both indoor and outdoor use are also very popular this season. The weirdest request came from someone trying to sell to Stephanie and company used mattresses for resale. That’s pretty much illegal almost anywhere in a retail setting, folks!

Olive Cart -- Among the Olive Oils, the top sellers this season are Scarborough Fair and Tuscan Herb. Among the Balsamics, the top sellers are 25 Year Dark, Pumpkin Spice and Lime Jalapeno. They’re also seeing a lot of traffic for their “mini-samplers” where you can create your own four pack of mix and match oils and balsamics for gift giving at just $19.95. Inasmuch as the store uses a sample delivery system of stainless steel urns with small tap nozzles, many confused people come in expecting to find a broad array of coffees or teas, because of the similarity to coffee urns. Also, due to the proliferation of oils, it’s not uncommon to hear a request for things like flaxseed oil, which they do not carry. So, there you go, folks...all sorts of new ideas for you and those on your Christmas lists this season. Happy shopping... and, as always, thanks for shopping both small businesses and shopping locally. Merry Christmas!

Pat Moody
Morning Radio Personality
WSJM Radio
moody@wsjm.com
(269) 925-1111

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