Biz Buzz
By Jim Martin, Doug Oathout Erie Times-News staff bloggers
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Posts tagged ‘Christmas’
Posted: November 26th, 2013

It’s not lost on local merchants that national retailers plan to get a head start on the holiday shopping season by opening as early as 6 a.m. Thanksgiving Day.

It’s fair to say most of them aren’t impressed.

“I think it’s terrible,” said Vivian Pietrzak, owner of Serendipity Emporium in Waterford. “Never, never will I do that. It would be over my dead body. It’s greed.”

Others were only slightly less emphatic.

Sandy Blazek, owner of Trellis on Peninsula Drive, said she wants her employees to have time for their families.

“We would never have employees work on Thanksgiving,” she said. “It’s nuts. It’s gotten out of hand.”

Debbie Shearer, owner of Finney’s Chocolate Shoppe, shares that view.

“We are closed so that we can spend time with our families,” she said. I don’t see why people have to be open on Thanksgiving. It takes away from the real meaning of the holidays.”

National retailers take a different view as the look for an opportunity to extend the holiday shopping season — if only by a few hours.

— Jim Martin

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: December 24th, 2012

Anyone left on your Christmas list just aching for a 65-inch Samsung 3D flat-screen television? Just your luck. The Vatican’s duty-free department store has one on sale for (euro) 2,899 ($3,840) — a nifty savings over the (euro) 3,799 ($5,032) it costs at Italy’s main electronics chain Euronics.

Or how about some new luggage for the holidays? The Vatican shop stocks a variety of Samsonite Cordoba Duo carry-ons for (euro) 123, a nice markdown from the (euro) 135 on the Samsonite website. But if a last-minute shopping splurge is in order, the Vatican can also oblige: Take this leather-bound travelling trunk from Florence’s “The Bridge” leatherworks, with its five drawers, plaid interior, six wooden hangars and shiny brass buckles.

At (euro) 5,900, it comes with a matching leather golf club bag, just what every monsignor needs under his Christmas tree.

There’s a little-known open secret in the Vatican gardens, a few paces behind St. Peter’s Basilica and tucked inside the Vatican’s old train station: a sprawling, three-story tax-free department store that rivals any airport duty free or military PX, stocking everything from Church’s custom grade shoes ((euro) 483 a pair) to Baume et Mercier watches (ladies (euro) 1,585, men’s Capeland (euro) 5,000).

There’s a hitch, however. It’s not open to the public, only to Vatican citizens, employees and their dependents, diplomats accredited to the Holy See and (unofficially) their lucky friends who, after stocking up on holiday must-haves, proceed to the checkout with their Vatican connection and the ID card that entitles them to shop there.

To be sure, Rome is no stranger to tax-free shopping. Embassies, nearby military bases and the U.N. food agencies all have commissaries for their employees, where imports of everything from American ice cream to French wine can be had minus the 21 percent sales tax included in list prices in Italy.

The Vatican has that and more, given that it’s its own sovereign state — the world’s smallest — operating in central Rome. At 44 hectares (110 acres), the Vatican city state is the physical home of the Holy See: the pope and governing structure and administration of the Catholic Church.

The Vatican Museums, home of Sistine Chapel, are the main profit-making enterprise of the Vatican city state, bringing in (euro) 91.3 million in revenue last year alone. But other smaller entrepreneurial endeavors boost the Vatican’s coffers as well, including the department store, the tax-free gas station, the stamp and coin collecting office, the Vatican pharmacy and its supermarket.
And in these days of austerity, their profits and bottom line are ever more important to the Vatican.

— Associated Press

Posted in: Uncategorized