Merchants prepare for mothers

Local merchants are gearing up with Mother’s Day just a week away.

“The Saturday before Mother’s Day is just nuts,” said Jeff Moist, manager of Warner’s Florist, Gifts and Greenhouses, Hollidaysburg.

According to the National Retail Federation, consumers will spend an average of $168.94 on their moms, up 11 percent from last year’s $152.52. Total spending is expected to reach $20.7 billion.

Traditional gifts such as jewelry, flowers and a nice dinner remain popular.

More than a third of consumers will buy jewelry, with spending expected to increase to $4.2 billion, up from $3.7 billion in 2012, according to the retail federation.

Mother’s Day is the second biggest holiday of the year behind Christmas for Beerbower Jewelers, Hollidaysburg, said President Don Beerbower.

“It is busier for us than Valentine’s Day. Everyone has a mother, but not everyone has a valentine,” Beerbower said.

Mother’s rings, mother’s pins and family rings are among the most popular items, Beerbower said.

Mother’s Day is also a strong holiday for Dorman’s Jewelry, Altoona.

“We do a lot of mother’s rings and pendants. Silver is more popular these days with the price of gold,” said co-owner Mike Dorman. “We can put a mother’s ring together pretty quickly, but you shouldn’t wait until the last minute.”

Jewelry sales are comparable to Valentine’s Day at Kranich’s Jewelers, Altoona, said President Michael Kranich Jr.

“We sell a lot of mother’s rings. We also sell basic diamond jewelry. Some people upgrade their engagement rings,” Kranich said.

On average, Mother’s Day beats Valentine’s Day by “a hair” in terms of sales at Your Jewelry Box, Altoona, with Pandora charm bracelets and mother’s rings as the top sellers, said President Devin Mullen.

“Mother’s rings are always popular,” he said. “In the last couple of years there have been some new designs with some cool modernizations. That selection has improved significantly. They appeal to a much wider audience. They are more stylish and fashionable.”

“For people who come out at the last minute, we have stocked some of the most popular rings and birthstones. We are prepared for the last day customers and can put [a ring] together on the spot,” Mullen said.

Many moms will be enjoying a special meal, as $3.5 billion is expected to be spent on brunch or dinner, according to the retail federation.

Mother’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year at Finelli’s Italian Villa, Altoona. And it is the only Sunday the restaurant is open.

“We want to take care of moms. On Mother’s Day, mom wants to be waited on and enjoy the service and be pampered,” owner Frank Finelli said.

Mother’s Day is also busy at the Allegro Restaurant, Altoona.

“It is probably second to New Year’s Eve for us. We usually sell out. There is usually a big rush early, then a lull around 3 o’clock, then it picks up again,” owner Dan Taddei said.

Mother’s Day is important but not as busy as Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas at the Creekside Inn, East Freedom, which offers a Mother’s Day buffet.

“There is so much competition for Mother’s Day. It used to be just restaurants but now there are other clubs and organizations who have Mother’s Day dinners. We do well but it is just more of a competitive holiday,” said owner Ron Brumbaugh.

Flowers are always a popular Mother’s Day gift.

Mother’s Day ranks second among holidays for consumer purchases of fresh flowers and plants for holidays, behind Christmas, according to the Society of American Florists. The organization said more than a third of adults bought flowers or plants as gifts for Mother’s Day 2012.

Mother’s Day is the biggest holiday for fresh cut flowers, Moist said. He added that bright colors, such as orange, hot pink and green, are popular in arrangements.

“They are real hot. They give a real fresh look to things,” Moist said.

Mother’s Day is also a very busy holiday for Creative Expressions Florist, Altoona. Owner Debbie Arnsparger said her regular customers come to her for the creativity she brings to arrangements.

“Our best sellers are our creative arrangements. If five people spend $40, they will all have different arrangements,” she said. “We strive to make different things for everybody.”

The week leading up to Mother’s Day is the busiest week of the year at City View Florist, Altoona, said floral designer Marcia Hallinan.

“Most of what we sell are fresh-cut flower arrangements. They vary from roses, tulips and lilies to mixed bouquets,” Hallinan said.

While the holiday is not a big one in terms of candy sales, local candy makers are ready to take care of that mom who has a sweet tooth.

“A nice box of candy is a nice way to say thanks to mom. We can package a special box for mom with her favorite chocolates,” said Sam Phillips, Gardners Candies president.

Phillips said the weather and the time between Easter and Mother’s Day has an impact on sales. For example, if there are cool days around Mother’s Day, sales go up. But if it is warm, sales aren’t as strong, he said.

Mother’s Day week is usually busy at Dutch Hill Chocolates, Altoona.

“We do chocolate-covered strawberries for Mother’s Day. People also buy boxes of assorted chocolates,” owner Jerry Moore said.

The strawberries will be made Friday and Saturday, Moore said.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.