Stores prepare for holiday season shopping

Mallory Burdick (left), junior in LAS, tries on clothes at Pitaya on Green Street in Champaign on Monday. Erica Magda

Mallory Burdick (left), junior in LAS, tries on clothes at Pitaya on Green Street in Champaign on Monday. Erica Magda

By Jennifer Wheeler

As the holiday season approaches, students are searching for stores that can best fill their gift-giving needs.

Luckily, retailers within the Urbana-Champaign area have planned and prepared for the inevitable December rush.

Best Buy, located at 2117 N. Prospect Ave. in Champaign, has taken steps to ensure customers have a good shopping experience.

“We start our preparations back in September by looking at our staffing needs and hiring people for the holiday season,” said Bill Mauzy, the store’s general manager.

“We start in September so we have plenty of time to train our folks on how to give the best customer service.”

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Best Buy stores have already increased the number of hours they are open, and eventually will be serving customers from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. during the busiest parts of the holiday shopping season.

“We have a lot of college students that work for us, and we have gained a lot of help from their knowledge and their insights and I think it makes us a good fit for students shopping,” Mauzy said.

Target, located at 2102 N. Prospect Ave in Champaign, is another student favorite for holiday shopping.

“First, we definitely have great prices and secondly, we are in stock with the hot items that people are looking for this holiday season,” said Steve Linders, spokesperson for Target.

Target stores plan on extending hours of operation during the holiday season and have hired about 60 to 70 seasonal employees per store to accommodate for the increased number of shoppers.

Target is offering reasonably priced gifts, said Linders, such as the T-Mobile Nokia 6010 phone for under $50 and other items, like vintage board games, for under $25.

Other stores have gotten into the holiday spirit; shoppers at Macy’s may notice an abundance of red ornamentation and other decorations symbolizing the store’s theme, “Believe,” said Rhonda Lash, general manager of Macy’s at Market Place Mall.

She said the theme represents “the spirit of the holiday and all good that comes from that.”

Lash said students may be attracted to the ‘Friends and Family’ event on December 10 to 15.

During that event, shoppers can use a free, exclusive shopping pass that allows them to receive 20 percent off of items in the store.

She said she encourages students to call the store if interested in receiving one of these limited-availability passes.

No matter where students shop during this holiday season, they are sure to be welcomed by stores well-prepared for their needs.