Holiday shopping

Holiday shoppers looking for that “one of a kind” gift filled the streets of downtown Wapakoneta this weekend.

Holiday Open Houses were held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with downtown and specialty shops, along with other businesses in Wapakoneta, staying open later and hosting holiday specials on their merchandise.

Janice Wright, along with her daughter-in-law, Melanie, and grandson, Christopher, were out and about this weekend shopping for the upcoming holiday season.

“We like to come out every year,” Janice Wright said. “Our church, St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, holds a bazaar, and that has been doing well.”

When the family is not helping out with the bazaar, they enjoy browsing the local shops.

“We found some things,” Janice Wright said. “Christopher found a Santa hat at Casa Chic.”

Janice Wright noted this is a way for local residents to get to shop locally.

“I think this is really cool,” Janice Wright said of the Holiday Open Houses weekend. “It gives people a chance to see downtown.”

Her daughter-in-law agreed.

“It gives locals a chance to go through the shops,” Melanie Wright said.

Janice Wright also noted this event also brings fellowship.

“I’ve seen a lot of people I haven’t seen since last year,” Janice Wright said.

Many new downtown businesses opened in the past year, and joined in on the Wapakoneta Antique Specialty Shop (WASS) sponsored event.

Relics was one of the new stores that welcomed customers.

“It’s going fabulous,” Relics owner Michele Shicora said. “Even Thursday was busier than normal.

Relics specializes in vintage clothes and unique items.

“I like unique things,” Shicora said. “I like things you don’t see everyday.”

Shicora noted an example is a bowling machine she has displayed in her shop.

“I aim for the unique,” Shicora said of her merchandise.

Overall, this weekend gave costumers a chance to visit her store, which opened in June.

“Business has been excellent,” Shicora said of the Holiday Open Houses weekend.

Fern Hill Farmhouse also is a new store in the downtown area, and employee Rex Maxwell said business also is going tremendous for the shop.

“We had steady traffic yesterday (Friday) and a heavy traffic flow today (Saturday),” Maxwell said on Saturday evening.

He said he and owner Jodie Goodwin had to tear down all of the Halloween decorations and put up all of their Christmas holiday decorations in the past four days.

“A lot of the decorations for Christmas are ones that Jodie has created,” Maxwell said.

Goodwin is an artist, and sells paintings and hand-crafted art pieces in her shop.

“We sold a lot of Christmas decorations this weekend,” Maxwell said.

Another specialty shop “Dad’s Toy Shop” had a model train layout on display in their store for children of all ages to test out.

“Trains are still a popular item,” Dad’s Toy Shop co-owner J.P. Metz said. “Slot cars are really popular, too.”

Metz noted when he was a kid, trains were very popular, and now a big difference is all the sounds involved with the trains they sell today.

“This is great weekend for people to get a head start on their holiday shopping,” Metz said.

Metz said they have extra inventory stocked specially for this weekend — with all the special sales they hosted for customers.

Dad’s Toy Shop has been in business since 1975, and they are planning to expand to make more room for their inventory.