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Last-minute shoppers flock to Flowery Branch
Convenience drives many to new shopping center
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FLOWERY BRANCH - As children are shuffled between choir practice and Santa's lap, many shoppers scramble for last-minute gifts at the new Stonebridge Village shopping center.

The November opening of Kohl's department store and The Home Depot has provided local procrastinators a little more convenience this year. Many shoppers have foregone a trip to the Mall of Georgia in Buford and instead have found gifts at the new development.

"I was going to have to go to the Mall of Georgia, so that was huge having it right there," said David Parrish, a Flowery Branch resident who spent the afternoon shopping for his wife, Barbara, and two daughters at Kohl's.

"I thought I was done until I happened to notice that (my wife) had wrapped an excessive amount of presents for me, so I had to get out and make up the difference," Parrish said. "I just panicked. I had to do something to balance it out. You don't want to look like you underachieved."

While Parrish got busy shopping to play catch-up with his wife, other shoppers were still busy buying gifts Sunday because they have large families.

Von McLeod is from St. Augustine, Fla., and is visiting her daughter, Gayla Appling, and her family in Flowery Branch. She spent the afternoon shopping at Kohl's for her five daughters, five grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

"It's a lot to shop for, so we're doing a lot of shopping here," McLeod said.

"We're absolutely not going to the Mall of Georgia. We went there last year and it was way too much traffic, too many people. But I love this, it's quiet," she added. "I just wish Target were open today."

Target, Office Max and PetSmart are scheduled to open in the spring.

The lines were moving quickly at the store, and Kohl's assistant manager Simeon Shepherd said he expects the bustle to continue through today and to pick up again following Christmas as customers return and exchange items.

"We've been pretty busy this weekend, but not too crowded," Shepherd said, adding that checkout lines have been moving smoothly.

Shepherd said hot gift buys at Kohl's include anything from the Vera Wang product line Simply Vera, as well as Candie's brand items for women. He said wind-up flashlights and sweaters have been selling well as gifts for men. And for kids, Shepherd said the Dora collection and Transformers figurines having been hard to keep on the shelves.

For those true last-minute shoppers, the Kohl's store in the Stonebridge Village shopping center in Flowery Branch will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. today.