Lawrence retailers bask in holiday afterglow as shoppers return in full force seeking deals

Tracie Howell, left, Lawrence, stops with her mother, Page Massey, Lago Vista, Texas, to browse the sweaters on the clearance rack at Weaver’s Department Store in downtown Lawrence. Sales, returns, exchanges and gift cards enticed shoppers back to stores on Sunday.

Nick Rausten, left, and Mike Bergman, both of Lawrence, load a newly purchased dishwasher into the bed of Rausten’s truck Sunday afternoon at Best Buy. Many shoppers braved the cold weather in search of specials and bargains as stores around Lawrence opened for business the day after Christmas.

After remaining bare for a day, retail parking lots filled up Sunday as shoppers hit the streets for after-Christmas sales and returns. Stores around town saw steady business throughout the day as residents started spending grandma’s Christmas money or exchanging the sweater mom picked out.

Erin Besson, a Best Buy shopper, spent part of her morning testing out different cameras and laptops. Besson said she isn’t usually a big after-Christmas shopper, but this year she had some motivation.

“Part of the reason why is from getting money for Christmas,” Besson said.

Other residents had planned on shopping anyway.

Randy Haeffner, a shopper at Kohl’s, said he went to the store specifically looking for a vacuum.

“We didn’t necessarily go looking for a deal,” Haeffner said. “There was some stuff we knew we needed to get.”

However, Debbie Green, another Kohl’s shopper, did specifically go for the deals. Green said each year she usually does a little after-Christmas shopping because of the great prices on items. She walked out of the store Sunday with a bag full of half-price picture frames.

“The holiday stuff is super cheap,” Green said. “I always need frames and you always take pictures at Christmas, so it’s a good buy.”

Still, some after-Christmas shoppers treat the day more like Black Friday.

Missy Stirling, manager at Target, said there were around 30 or so people lined up outside the entrances by 7 a.m. when the store opened. Stirling said the store opened an hour early, would close an hour later and added extra employees to the staff to accommodate customers. In terms of buying versus returning/exchanging, Stirling said she expected business to be about even.

“A lot of times customers will bring in clothes that were the wrong size or items like movies that they got more than one of,” Stirling said.

For Tanya Treadway, it was the wrong size of gloves. Treadway went to Weaver’s Department Store to exchange some gloves she had bought her husband. Luckily for her, she said, the gloves are the only Christmas item she will have to bother with exchanging. She said gift cards are to thank for a lot of that.

“We prefer to get and to give gift cards or gift certificates,” Treadway said. “It makes it much easier to give gifts, and on the receiving end, we get to pick out exactly what we want.”

Treadway estimates she gave out about 10 gift cards this year, ranging from restaurants to retail stores. She said she also received about three or four herself.

Joe Flannery, president of Weaver’s, said he expects the spike in shopping to continue the rest of the week. He said that the day after Christmas is always busy but that the week after Christmas is just the same.

“Some people will come for returns and exchanges, some know exactly what they want to buy, and others will want to shop around for the sales,” Flannery said.