Scrambling season

Vickie McCormick of Clovis does some Saturday shopping at Wal-Mart. McCormick said after Wal-Mart, she was headed to the North Plains Mall. McCormick said she is usually done shopping for Christmas very early. (Staff photo: Tony Bullocks)

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

Shopper Jim Zaikowski scoured the shelves of downtown stores Saturday, searching for gifts for his sons and wife.

With wind chimes cradled in his arm (a gift for his wife), Zaikowski continued his hunt at Lizzie’s Menagerie on Main Street.

His downtown excursion followed a day of shopping at uptown venues.

“It’s enjoyable to come downtown. I went everywhere else and it was too crowded,” said Zaikowski, whose busy schedule prevents early Christmas shopping.

“Driving up and down Prince Street was a little annoying,” Zaikowski said.

A steady stream of shoppers waltzed through Lizzie’s Saturday, according to owner Verna Nussbaumer.

“This has been our best year ever (in sales),” Nussbaumer said.

Last-minute shoppers foraged through the store mostly for stocking stuffers, according to Nussbaumer and clerk Debbie White. Custom and ready-made gift baskets also disappeared off shelves, said the pair, who put off lunch for an hour to cater to customers.

“There’s something for everyone in here,” said Nussbaumer, referring to the gift basket she stood beside, which was wrapped in red cellophane and filled with chocolate-covered marshmallows on sticks, hot cocoa, peppermints and gourmet food.

Eastern New Mexico shoppers flooded stores downtown and across Clovis Saturday, as retailers raced to keep up.

Traffic inched along North Prince Street Saturday afternoon and parking lots were jammed.

“We are selling everything we have in the store. We are trying to keep up,” Wal-Mart Manager Emma Martinez said.

“We are so busy,” she said.

Toys, bicycles and video games were especially popular at Wal-Mart this Christmas season, Martinez said.

Shopper Vickie McCormick of Clovis battled big crowds at the big store to do some last-minute shopping. McCormick said she is usually finished shopping early, but this year was an exception.

Darren Kelley, also of Clovis, filled his cart with gifts for his son at Wal-Mart.

Clerks at Big Lots discount store said shoppers snatched up domestic items Saturday, nearly clearing out the toy aisle and cologne selections.

“We are so busy,” said JCPenney’s store manager, Denice McClain.

Among retailers this Saturday, that sentiment was echoed, again and again.