Christmas after Christmas

Cara Church, of Highland, receives help from Fran Coppola, right, co-owner of the Christmas Shoppe in Historic Smithville, which has existed since 1948. ‘The day after Christmas is as exciting as during the season since everyone is looking for a deal these days,’ Coppola says about the half-price sale that day.

Dave Griffin

Retailers awaken today to find something they really wanted under the tree: a day off.

For some stores, though, the Christmas season never ends because in their retail niche, it’s always Christmas.

After they catch their breath today, the year-round sellers of Christmas decorations, ornaments, cards, music boxes and much more will be busy as elves moving merchandise at clearance prices, lining up the wholesale purchase of the new holiday must-haves, and planning their fresh look for the next 363-day shopping days until Christmas.

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Tomorrow, everything in the Christmas Shoppe in Historic Smithville will go on sale at half price, said Fran Coppola, who, with her husband, Tony, co-owns the store.

“The day after Christmas is as exciting as during the season since everyone is looking for a deal these days,” said Coppola, who lives in the Smithville section of Galloway Township. “In our store it’s strictly Christmas, and now you can get what you always wanted but maybe it was a little high for your budget.”

The Christmas Shoppe at Historic Smithville is a little store with a big history. Since it opened in 1948 next to the iconic Smithville Inn, families visiting the village have picked up keepsake ornaments and posed for photos with its festive holiday window behind.

“Now we have people come back with their children and grandchildren and take a photo in front of the same window,” Coppola said.

She said the very busy weeks ahead of the holiday give her and store manager Kate Humes a chance to think about changes to inventory and merchandising.

“In our store it’s always Christmas, so it’s easy for us to gear up and think about how it’s going to sell and look next year,” Coppola said. “Then in January we start buying all over again, while this year is still pretty fresh in our minds.”

At Mia’s Christmas Gallery, on the Ocean City Boardwalk at 11th Street, customers will be lined up Wednesday awaiting the store’s opening at 10 a.m., said Jim Saile, co-owner of the store with his wife, Jane.

“The day after Christmas we do our biggest dollar volume of the year. Not the number of people, but actual dollar volume,” said Saile, of Ocean City. “People know what they want and they run to the spots in the store.”

Mia’s 50 percent off sale on most items except collectibles will run until mid-January, he said. New Year’s Day is also very busy.

Saile said he has already started ordering merchandise for next year. The second week of January he’ll go to a trade show in Atlanta to look for new products.

“After the sale, we take inventory, totally clean the store and refurbish decorations,” he said.

The Paisley Christmas Shoppe on Third Avenue in Stone Harbor will also begin a 50-percent-off sale on Wednesday, said manager Ruth Norton.

In addition to holiday items widely available such as the Elf on the Shelf, the shop offers island-influenced items such as painted shells from local beaches and driftwood Santas made by local artists, she said.

“Ed Orzech has been the owner for the Paisley Christmas Shoppe’s 29 years, and he’s done a very good job finding things you wouldn’t find in department stores,” said Norton, of Cape May Court House.

The shop will be open through New Year’s Day and then will close, probably until early May, she said. During that time Orzech will go to trade shows in Atlanta and New York City.

Christmas Tree Shops in Consumer Square, Mays Landing, also will sell holiday items at half price this week.

Since the chain mixes seasonal offerings for all the major holidays as well as much nonholiday merchandise, the year-end strategy is a little different.

“We do a clearance event the day after Christmas, discounting different things in the store so we can come out and start the New Year fresh,” said Sue Couture, of Sicklerville, the store’s planning manager.

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