Last-minute Christmas shoppers hit the mall, some take shelter away from cold homes

Posted Dec. 24, 2013, at 1:14 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Shoppers in search of last-minute gifts aren’t the only ones heading to the Bangor Mall on Christmas Eve. People whose homes have been left cold and dark by ice storm-related power outages are walking through the warm, well-lit facility as well.

Traffic at the Bangor Mall late on the morning of Christmas Eve didn’t appear to be any busier than it would be on a normal weekend, but parking spaces in some lots became more scarce as noon approached.

Some shoppers said they were just picking up their last few items. Others were happy to have some shopping to keep them busy away from their cold, dark homes while they waited for power to be restored to their Bangor-area homes.

Meanwhile, in Belfast, where lights in many of the downtown businesses flickered throughout the day on Monday and then went out for good later that afternoon, many merchants couldn’t open on Tuesday.

But some die-hard entrepreneurs did, including Neal Parent of the Parent Gallery and the owners of the Colonial Theatre, who were selling gift certificates by candlelight.

“I’m going to be open today in the dark,” Parent said. “I could sit home by the fire — which is really tempting — but I have jackets. I just figure, it’s winter. What are you going to do?”

He said he would be happy to help any last-minute Christmas Eve shoppers with purchases of jewelry or art. At 3 p.m., he planned to close up his shop — or, possibly, before.

“If I start shivering, I’ll go home,” the photographer said.

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