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Christmas Season A Mixed Bag For New Canaan Stores

Holiday business was good for Candy Nichols children's clothing store and shop co-owner Anna Carberry, right. She is pictured with sales associate Jennifer Joseph. Photo Credit: Melvin Mason
The Christmas shopping season at Design Solutions was adversely affected by Hurricane Sandy, according to owner Pauline Dora. The store is now trying to make the most of the season with an after-Christmas sale. Photo Credit: Melvin Mason

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Stores in downtown New Canaan had mixed results for the Christmas shopping season.

The staff at Candy Nichols on Elm Street was busy as Christmas approached. Co-owner Anna Carberry said the holiday shopping season started slowly for the children’s clothing store, but business picked up as the holiday approached. “We had a good week leading up to Christmas,” Carberry said, mentioning how busy the store was in the four days before Christmas. “We had a slow start, but a strong finish.”

Carberry said Candy Nichols was not too affected by Hurricane Sandy, which knocked power out to much of the town for more than a week in November, but it took some time for people to get in and finish their shopping. “People really wanted to do the holiday,” she said.

The holiday season was not as positive for Design Solutions, who had much of its inventory selling for 30 percent off on Wednesday. Owner Pauline Dora said the shop was adversely affected by Hurricane Sandy. The outage got the home design shop off on a bad foot as the holiday season was approaching.  The store was closed for two days during the cleanup and people were not interested in buying items for their homes.

“Sandy definitely hurt us,” Dora said, also acknowledging that it would be difficult to make up for the lost sales. “Our business lost two weeks of time. “ Concerns about the country going over the so-called fiscal cliff and the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School also dampened peoples’ enthusiasm to shop, Dora said.

Gift shop Comina on Main Street ended the shopping season on a high note with people coming in to fill out their shopping lists in the last week of the Christmas shopping period, said store manager Cathy Gallagher. Comina even received business from people looking to re-furnish homes damaged by Sandy.

Gallagher also figures the shop saw a late jump in traffic from out-of-towners who wanted to get a few things while taking a break from their hosts’ homes. “I think it ended on a high note,” she said.

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