Special deals urge customers out of hibernation

Published 9:11 am Tuesday, February 4, 2014

While the chili served in restaurants around the city was hot on Saturday, the deals inside a number of downtown businesses were even hotter.

The Marshall Shoppe held its annual “winter hibernation sale” on Saturday, in coordination with the Dowagiac Ice Time Festival. The women’s apparel store featured deep discounts on many of its items, opening its doors to snow-covered customers at 8 a.m., more than an hour earlier than usual.

“The store was so packed, we had people from wall to wall right when we opened,” said Brenda Scrout, an employee with the business.

A sort of “white Saturday” for the clothing store, the Marshall Shoppe holds its annual sale to help eliminate a good portion of its winter apparel and other accessories, Scrout said.

“We moved a lot of inventory, so we can make room for our spring selections,” she said.

From 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., the store marked off a number of its winter items, jewelry and handbags by 50 percent. From 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., they had discounts of 40 percent, followed by discounts of 30 percent from 11 a.m. until they closed at 5 p.m.

The annual sale routinely draws massive interest from women all over the region, hailing from South Bend to Kalamazoo, Scrout said.

“The gals were here for the bargains,” she added. “Overall, it looked like things went really, really gangbusters.”

The Marshall Shoppe wasn’t the only business that featured winter deals during the festival. A few stores down, at The Tipsy Gypsy, nearly the entire store’s selection was discounted by 20 percent.

Like its neighbor, the store opened more than an hour earlier than usual, to accommodate early-morning visitors who came to watch the ice carvers in action.

“It was the best day I had all year,” said owner Laurie Kinzler. “I was really pleased by the turnout.”

Kinzler has held special sales during the ice festival since she came to Dowagiac in 2003. The increased traffic typically brings in a surge of revenue during the slower winter months, Kinzler said.

“This time of year is always a struggle, and Mother Nature has not been kind to us this year,” she said.

Next door, Vincent J. Jewelers also featured special deals for customers, with a twist. The store held their annual “pajama sale” event Saturday morning, offering discounts of up to 50 percent to customers adorned in their sleeping attire.

The staff also joined in the fun, wearing their pajamas throughout the day, said Mary Safranek, an employee with the jewelry store.

“We had a lot of traffic on Saturday,” she said. “A lot of people came in, and we all had a good time.”