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Weather slows post-holiday foot traffic at local stores
Lindsey McEver stacks returns Sunday at the Target on Shallowford Road in Gainesville. - photo by Tom Reed

Saturday's gift of a white Christmas slowed down post-holiday shopping at some Gainesville retailers Sunday morning.

Target team leader Brian Dean said people called and asked about conditions near the store, located on Shallowford Road.

"This morning was extremely slow due to the road conditions," he said.

Tammy Glausier, 37, and her husband waited a while before driving from Pendergrass to take advantage of the Christmas clearance items at Target and other stores in the afternoon. But their reasons for waiting were not solely about road safety.

"We were going to get out here earlier," she said. "We had to play in the snow with the boys first."

Glausier's sons stayed at home with their grandparents while she did her annual post-holiday shopping for wrapping paper and outdoor decorations. She said the store was quieter than expected.

"I think that the weather has kept a lot of people away," she said.

Though the pace improved by the afternoon, Dean, who has worked at Target for six years, had expected more foot traffic.

"We were a little disappointed with it, honestly," he said.

Other retailers' post-Christmas sales also got off to a slow start, but picked up as the snow on roads around Gainesville's retail district melted.

"It was a little tough getting started this morning," said Wanda Mahaffey, merchandise coordinator at Belk in the Lakeshore Mall. "Traffic's pretty normal right now."

Maria Gordillo, 25, of Gainesville participated in day-after-Christmas shopping for the first time. A flyer she received on Christmas Eve while shopping at Belk piqued her interest. Two days later she and her family returned to, hopefully, "find better deals than the ones the days before Christmas."

Her post-holiday perusing paid off; at Belk she found a shirt she'd wanted for half-off the pre-Christmas price.

Back at Target, the lines for exchanging or returning merchandise were short.

"As far as returns go, (it's) not that bad," customer service team member Lindsey McEver said, adding that the store would receive most of its returns in the next few days.

Lynn Hayes, 49, of Gainesville stood in the guest services line with her son Brock, 17, to take back some clothes she'd purchased for him.

"You never can get those right," she said, holding the two plastic bags of merchandise and looking at her son. "They grow too quick."

Dean said clothing that was the wrong size and video games for the wrong system were common among returns.

Brock said he preferred to pick up some video games for his Xbox 360 instead of clothes in the correct size.

"‘Cause I'm a guy," he said.

In addition to holiday clearance, Target customers can expect deals on toys and plastic ware, such as containers and organizers, in the next few days.

Belk customers can look forward to an extension of post-Christmas sales.

"Our door-busters will continue tomorrow because of today's bad weather," Mahaffey said.