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Shelby business find there’s some turkey on that bone

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Christmas sales dominate next weekend, but that doesn’t mean Thanksgiving doesn’t feast on consumers’ wallets, too. In Shelby, shops and restaurants don’t overlook that.

By Frank Shanly

The Thanksgiving holiday is now only days away, and it’s not just the big nationwide stores that are preparing for a busy period of trading – even if the focus typically already has swung to Christmas and the rush of holiday shopping.

Many stores nationally already have announced plans to be open for holiday sales on Thanksgiving night – Goody’s and Walmart in Shelbyville among them – and the family themes of Thanksgiving sometimes appear lost in the wash of that great retail machinery.

In fact, finding how much is spent on Thanksgiving items alone nationally is difficult. Internet searches typically send you to Thanksgiving weekend sales for Christmas items, and any other figures largely are relegated to food.

One 3-year-old survey suggests that Americans spend $2.375 billion on food for Thanksgiving, with the average household spending more than $300 for its feast. Another source reported that in 2010 Thanksgiving generated $30.5 billion in sales, second only to Christmas.

But all that food and atmosphere requires at least some decoration to bring forward the Thanksgiving theme, and Shelbyville’s smaller local businesses – many of them gift shops – aren’t letting go of Thanksgiving and have a lot of treats in store for that holiday – many of them things that you won’t find in the national chains – even if Christmas sales are part of their motivation for selling this week.

For instance, Stacey’s Simple Stuff, the log cabin on Main Street in Shelbyville, has a wide range of goodies and is offering 20 percent discount all Thanksgiving-related items through to Thanksgiving – which is another impact of coming Christmas.

“I need to make room for my Christmas stock,” store owner Stacey Pettibone said.

Pettibone has all kinds of kitchen accessories, including pot holders and table mats, as well as candles, figurines, plaques and other knick-knacks. Her soy pot scents last at least a week, she said, and burn straight through.

“It’s safe, you just plug it in and let it go,” she said.  

She also has pumpkin pie, apple cider and autumn spice.

Candles are also a featured item at At Home on Seventh and Main.   

“I have a store full of stuff, but it’s just the candles for [special] Thanksgiving[-related items],” owner Eric Stearns said. “All in-store candles are hand-poured. They are clean cotton soy candles.”

But getting away from the coming Black Friday can be difficult.

Officials at Lowe’s in Shelbyville referred an inquiry to their corporate office who advised that their stores would have a huge range of special deals available on “Black Friday” with wall tools, Kobalt tools, Whirlpool washers and dryers and gas grills just some of the specials. They recommended the public visit the local store to get the deal they may be after.

Asked whether the Thanksgiving holiday suffered as a result of falling between the busy Halloween and Christmas shopping periods, Lowe’s anticipated that “Black Friday” will remain a huge shopping event for a long time yet, and with “Cyber Monday” (the first Monday after Thanksgiving) now also a part of the Thanksgiving-period retail calendar, this is one of the busiest times of the year for retailers.

But Thanksgiving, for most, comes down to a family meal, and that is part of the holiday business climate in Shelby County, too.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, for instance, will be offering a “Thanksgiving Day Dinner To Go” for their customers. The dinner serves six people and will cost $54.99. It includes 2 pounds of turkey with two cups of gravy, 2 pounds of cornbread dressing, 12 ounces of sugar cured ham, 6 ounces of cranberry relish, 3 quarts of vegetables and a baker’s dozen of biscuits or corn muffins or a loaf of sourdough bread and butter.

The dinners are available from Saturday though Dec. 1, but a 24-hour notice is requested. Cracker Barrel will also be offering 10 percent off all pies baked in-house for Thanksgiving.

Over at Claudia Sanders Dinner House, there also is a special Thanksgiving buffet, available all day Wednesday and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday. Walk-ins are accepted, but reservations for groups of six or more are requested.

The buffet will cost $19.95 for adults, $8.95 for children aged five to 10, with no charge for children four years and under.

With that, Thanksgiving will have passed by next Friday, when the retail season will be in full-scale pandemonium, and consumers should remember one key thing: Christmas is only one month from Monday.