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Shoppers flock to St. Lawrence Centre mall for Christmas Shopping Fair

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MASSENA — With 70 days left on the Christmas countdown clock, St. Lawrence Centre mall was in the holiday spirit Monday for the first Christmas Shopping Fair event.

Dozens of specialty vendors and crafters filled the mall hallways from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The event was organized by Massena residents Mary Ellen Devine and Sandee Mayville, who have worked craft fairs and markets throughout much of Northern New York for a handful of years.

“I’ve been doing craft fairs for the last five years for the American Legion. What happened was, a year ago I got bombarded with phone calls from people not happy with the fact that there’s not a firm in that building. So we went looking for a building and talked to the mall and they were willing to house us,” Ms. Devine said.

“So Sandee and I just worked together. We’ve been friends forever. We do craft shows and stuff like that, so we knew certain people to call and ask,” she said.

Monday was not only Columbus Day in the United States, but also Thanksgiving for Canada. Both of these were components that made it a smart choice to have the fair Monday, Ms. Devine said.

“Everything’s closed up, so what does anybody have to do except for go to the mall? This was a great way to start kicking off Christmas because economically, money is so tight,” she said. “This is when everybody should start shopping, really. It gets people out and gets them to see what we offer and it’s future contacts for all of us.”

With more than 30 vendors at the mall Monday, there was a large variety of gifts up for purchase. The selections ranged from Tupperware to organic dog biscuits and from jewelry to candles.

“We have a really good mix of both styles. The most common vendor is jewelry. ... We’ve got some cosmetics stuff with Avon and some other places, things for the home. ... Decorative things, potholders, table runners, things like that are also here. There’s also a woman selling homemade dog treats, and we’ve got art, whether it be photography or some other kind of medium,” Ms. Mayville said. “We were really happy when we put the list together finally.”

The fair was an opportunity for vendors and crafters to show their items while also making money.

“The day has been great here at the mall. I’ve been selling a lot of jewelry and accessories and everything here is $5 from Paparazzi Accessories. It’s been a steady flow of people throughout the day,” independent consultant Barbara Myerson said.

“Business has been pretty good today. It’s been steady, people coming and going. We make custom bows, tutus, tutu dresses, candy jars and all sorts of girly stuff,” vendor Carmela Felix said.

The fair also served as an opportunity for shoppers to get an early start on their holiday shopping or even treat themselves to a gift.

“I wanted to do some Christmas shopping but it ended up being more for me,” Sheri Moran said. “We’ve been all the way down the hallways, checking out all of the vendors and things they’re selling.”

“We usually don’t do this early of a start. We don’t really plan things; we just sort of buy the gifts,” Lucy Pang said.

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