Raleigh, N.C. — Shopkeepers in Raleigh's Cameron Village saw a rush of business Saturday as the clock ticked down on Christmas Eve. Many of the shoppers who crowded the urban shopping center said they were looking for something unique to put under the Christmas tree.
"There are more interesting things to look at," shopper Amy Gockerman said.
Theodore Smith was looking for something to catch his eye. "At the last minute, you've got to go with whoever is open and hope that you get something," he said.
Sandy Friedman, owner of Accipiter, said the holiday weekend had business booming.
"We put a huge amount of effort into Christmas," she said. "Accipiter is a fun place to be this time of year."
The gallery sells crafts of glass, metal and wood, jewelry, light fixtures and even toys.
Robb Ward, the owner of nearby Wardrobbe clothing boutique, said customers tell him they seek out shops like his as an alternative to mall-based chains.
"That's why we're in Cameron Village, and we pay to be in the location where we have a lot of walk-by traffic," Ward said.
Both store owners were pleased with the gift of a busy Saturday.
"2010 was the best year we ever had since we opened in 1988, and this year is slightly above that," Friedman said of Accipiter. The store did about 20 percent of the total annual sales during the holiday shopping season.
Ward said business at Wardrobbe had picked up throughout the year. "It's been a great season," he said.