Without major big-box retailers in Maricopa, many in town may head to Ahwatukee Foothills, Chandler or Casa Grande for much of their Christmas shopping.
However, there might be more than meets the eye available locally for the Christmas consumer.
We present a list of 10 places to shop locally for a variety of wants and desires, with the thought that there might be more to shopping locally than one might expect. It is not, by any means, a comprehensive list of everything this city’s businesses have to offer, but rather a look at the wide range of options available. It’s not just the where and the what, but also the why.
Where: Ace Hardware, 21542 N. John Wayne Parkway
What: Christmas decorations, toys, plants and home improvement materials.
Why: In a city still devoid of the big-box magnets of Target and Wal-Mart, Ace Hardware is filling the gap by being more than just the “friendly hardware place.” With a slew of doorbuster deals on Black Friday, plus a plethora of Christmas decorations, including fake-snow blowing snowmen and musical Christmas trees, Ace is seeking to be the place to provide something for everyone this holiday season.
Toys, including wagons, sporting equipment and a “plug and play” guitar are part of the doorbuster deals, while telescopes and children’s bikes will also be on sale. While Ace is known for its supply of power tools, grills and storage units, it also stocks small kitchen appliances, alarm clocks and handy holiday items like wrapping paper.
Ace, which opened to Maricopa in early November 2006, hopes to bolster last year’s start to local holiday shopping, putting out a holiday gift guide catalog with ideas for the whole family.
“People don’t need to drive,” store co-owner Tom Bechtel said. “There’s a lot of good stuff right here.”
Where: DVD and Game Depot, 44400 W. Honeycutt Road, Suite 110
What: DVDs, video games and accessories.
Why: DVDs and video games are available in stock for purchase, and many others are available to order through the store. Perhaps the biggest plus? Rent it first. Then decide whether or not said movie or video game is right for your gift recipient. Additionally, video game controllers, memory cards and other accessories are available for purchase for the gamer in your life.
Where: Southwest Peddlers, 21116 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite B-1
What: Western and cowboy-themed decor.
Why: Because you live in the West, not in the concrete jungle of Phoenix that is part of the West by temperature only. Why not spruce up the house or send a bit of the Old West to relatives and friends out of state with pillows, place mats or blankets decorated with themes of the Old West?
Where: Poco Loco Home Decor, 20800 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 113
What: Southwestern home decor items, clocks, candles and unique Christmas decor.
Why: No two things are alike at this local decor store. Infused with a Southwestern theme, many items are available to spruce up house and home not only for the holidays, but year-round. According to Dareece Rosales, Poco Loco has a number of items that keep customers coming back for more, including sandal wine coasters, wine goblets, candles and stone and metal signs. Many of their unique Christmas decorations, as well as other items in the store, are available to be made to order. Their most unique item for the holidays may be their custom-designed swags, which can be used in lieu of wreaths and run from $58-$135.
Where: Leaf and Feather Farm, 50598 W. Mayer Blvd.
What: Cacti, fruit trees and various plants.
Why: It’s time to think outside the box. Unless you want a boxed palm, that is. The Leaf and Feather Farm offers a variety of fruit trees, cacti and plants for the gardener in your life. The shopping experience alone makes the trek down to the farm worthwhile. Numerous singing birds and a capuchin monkey make the shopping an actual experience to be had.
Where: Data Doctors, 21476 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite C-101
What: New and custom-built computers.
Why: It’s not just for the electronically ill. Data Doctors, according to owner Steven Sanders, also has brand new personal computers on sale – the most popular of which sells for $799. DD also does made-to-order computers and sells accessories such as external hard drives, which make for great gifts for business professionals and students alike.
Where: Fahrenheit Tanning, 20800 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 115
What: Tanning gift certificates.
Why: In this day and age tan is the new hip thing. Tanning salons are almost as populous in Southern California as coffee shops are in Seattle. Maricopa even has its own tanning salon.
Gift certificates are available with package deals for two weeks of unlimited tanning starting as low as $35. One go through the magic spray procedure is $25.
Where: Checker Auto Parts, 21518 N. John Wayne Parkway; Auto Zone, 20886 N. John Wayne Parkway
What: Automobile accessories.
Why: Because this isn’t the East Coast. Nearly everyone here has at least one car, and so going the route of getting new steering wheel covers, stereo speakers or floor mats is often a useful and welcomed gift.
For the guy or gal in your life that spends a lot of time in the garage, a number of car repair supplies and refurbishments materials can be had at either of these national chains located in Maricopa.
Where: Eclectic Classics Home Furnishings, Antiques & Collectibles, 44301 W. Maricopa/Casa Grande Highway, Suite 9
What: Collectible toys, dolls, furniture and jewelry.
Why: Not everything given as a Christmas gift needs to be brand-spanking new. In fact, some of these antique and collectible items will be both useful and memory-making. Store owner Suzanne Davis said she will have Beanie Babies, high fashion jewelry and dolls on sale for half-off after Thanksgiving, with some furniture items also marked down.
The furniture items include both chairs, dressers and trunks while other items, such as clocks and fine china, round out her varied collection. Davis’ store is located inside Will Dunn’s Stagestop Marketplace.
What: Custom-designed photo albums.
Why: Sometimes the gifts that aren’t of the glitter or the glamour but of the heart are the ones that matter the most at Christmas. Rather than settling on the limited edition Caddyshack DVD in desperation Dec. 24 for your homemaker mother-in-law, go with something that shows you care. Local Creative Memories consultant Heidi Haden has a number of unique designs for photo albums that would make great gifts for any member of the family. In addition to the traditional hard copies, the ever-lasting digital storybooks are also available for those that like their gifts a little more tech-savvy.
There are many others that aren’t listed as well. Many stocking stuffer items, such as candy, makeup or small toys, can be found at Walgreen’s, CVS, Fry’s Marketplace or Bashas’. In addition, both major grocery stores have a decent-sized collection of wine for the holiday-partgoer and a selection of DVDs available for that last-minute shopper. Fry’s also has a home section with a number of kitchen and bathroom items, including patio sets and towels.
When traffic on Route 347 is too much to tango with, the new big-box stores at the Promenade at Casa Grande is an option as well. Dillard’s, Target, Kohl’s, JCPenney, PetSmart, Staples and Harkins Theatres have already opened their doors to customers in time for the holiday shopping season, with many others, such as Best Buy, just months away from adding to the mix.