BANGOR, Maine — Whether it was because of good tires or panic, intrepid last-minute shoppers didn’t let 13 inches of blowing snow slow them down on one of the last three shopping days before Christmas.
“I’ve got a four-wheel-drive truck. I shoveled out the driveway. And then I decided it was time to start doing some shopping,” said Will Corliss of Argyle on Monday.
Corliss, who was buying some gifts for his grandchildren at the Briar Patch books and toy store on Central Street, said he thought he’d better get started shopping to “ease my conscience.”
A look around downtown showed that plenty of other people were out easing their consciences. Purposeful shoppers moved like ants along sidewalks carved from the snowbanks.
Nancy Peers, manager of the Grasshopper Shop, stood behind the counter in the bustling store.
“It’s been busy. We’re really starting to pick up now,” she said.
A bundled-up Ben Makino prowled through Rebecca’s gift shop, looking for the perfect Maine-made products to take home to Orange County, Calif. Makino had just finished working a whirlwind week as guest conductor of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra during “The Nutcracker” performances, and had a seat on a 6:45 a.m. flight out of Bangor International Airport.
So Makino decided to make the best of his extended Bangor sojourn.
“I’m having a good time,” he said while looking at dehydrated bags of chowder mix. “I had a little downtown walking tour. … People are out. I enjoyed the snow. For me, it’s magic. For others, maybe it’s not so convenient.”
Rick Vigue, owner of Rebecca’s, said that business was steady Monday — and also had been quite good during the Sunday afternoon blizzard.
“We are just delighted,” he said. “It’s been steady as soon as we got our paths shoveled out.”
At the Bangor Mall, James Gerety, the general manager, said Monday afternoon that the parking lots were starting to fill up.
“That’s a good sign,” said Gerety, who helped shovel out some of the mall entrances. “The clock doesn’t stop ticking. People have either procrastinated or they’re waiting for better deals, or a combination.”
Gerety said that shoppers got off to a slow start Monday because of the storm.
“I think this afternoon and early evening, once people dug out of their own yards and such, they’ll be out,” he said.
He noted that this season should be exceptional for shoppers — if not for merchants.
“While the economy is struggling, and retailers are working hard to get customers in the door, it is a great time to shop — probably the best time to shop it’s been in years, if you can take advantage of it,” Gerety said. “Retailers are marking products down. You can pick and choose. The markdowns are pretty significant. You won’t see it this good for a long time.”