By Hannah Wallace October 31, 2009

Marcus Anast

Co-owner, The Sarasota Collection Home Store

“We are already prepared. We’ve purchased items that can be given as gifts for less than $100, and we’re promoting gifts that will actually be utilized: items like luxury sheet sets and cashmere throws. Gifts this year won’t be frivolous; consumers will be looking for practical or eco-friendly gifts. We just became the exclusive retailer of Anatomic Global, a green, 96-percent biodegradable foam mattress that’s priced about 50 percent less than its closest competitors.

“Sarasota Collection is also preparing a grand opening event for our new Calvin Klein Home store in time for the holiday buying season, and has already started a registry for Calvin Klein gifts—sheets, bath linens, glassware, flatware, area rugs and more. We have the exclusive agreement to sell Calvin Klein Home and the couture furniture line from Tampa to Naples, and have devoted the entire second floor of our store to a Calvin Klein boutique.”

Gary Peltz

Co-owner, Peltz Shoes

“We opened in University Park Center in March, so this will be our first holiday season in the Sarasota-Bradenton area. We’ve gearing up with newspaper ads, radio commercials, direct mail and a special after-Thanksgiving gift-with-purchase promotion. Consumers here are sophisticated, classy; they want better-grade discounted shoes and would rather buy three pairs of good shoes than five pairs of lesser quality. Gifts will be a lot of boat shoes for men, Ugg boots with sheepskin lining for women [teens love them], and walking shoes by MBT and Skechers, and we’re stocking accordingly.

“I’m expecting holiday sales in the new store to triple over our numbers during the summer. Traditionally, in our St. Petersburg, Brandon and Clearwater locations we find sales pick up in mid-October with the arrival of snowbirds and increase right in line with the tourist season. It’s the same in the University Park store, but we’re finding sales are even more resort-driven.”

Valerie Doss

Co-owner, Sirene` Coastal Interiors

“To grow in an economy where people are cautious about redecorating, we’ve tested items like evening bags and wraps, and several lines of jewelry. It’s been a bonanza, and we’re doing even more for the holidays. We’ll also focus on handmade gift items for the home for under $100. And for tourists, beautiful gifts that fit in a suitcase: shell picture frames for $20 and prints by area artists for $12 to $50. We’ll be doing holiday promotions with artists appearing at the store, a Girls’ Day Out event, and another called Bring on the Bling. Our peacock Christmas tree with feathers and ornaments in shades of blue and green will be back; it’s famous now and amazing how it draws people into the store.” ■

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