Gift cards and gift certificates are good for gift givers who don’t have to search for the perfect present, good for recipients who can shop the after-Christmas sales, and good for retailers who expect to see a surge in end-of-themonth spending.
But they are not so good for procrastinators.
Some cards expire. Others start losing value in time — sometimes in as few as three months from purchase.
Financial services-issued gift cards may have the most flexibility in use, but also can be the most costly.
One large national mall developer, Simon Property Group, rolled out a Visa gift certificate that can be used at any Simon mall nationwide, but it costs $1.50 to activate, and if it isn’t used within six months, it starts incurring monthly fees of $2.
THE FINE PRINT
Visa has issued a warning regarding its cards that, "Consumers should be aware that Visa gift cards may come with certain nominal fees that are managed by the issuing financial institution. Typical fees for gift cards may include card issuance fees and account maintenance fees."
The company further warns that prompt redemption is best.
American Express gift cards bought online incur not only a $3.95 purchase fee — $7.95 if you order by phone instead of PC — but also a shipping fee. The shipping fee is $9.95 per card for express mail, which was required after Dec. 10 to ensure pre-Christmas delivery.
Read the fine print before buying any gift cards or gift certificates.
FILLING EMPTY SPACE
Big 5 Sporting Goods and Harbor Freight Tools, which together took over most of the empty supermarket shell at the Mesa South shopping center, at Gilbert Road and Southern Avenue, staged a grand opening ceremony over the weekend. The former Fry’s — and later a Southwest Supermarket — space had been vacant for more than a year.
The final piece of the divided-up grocery store has "interest but nothing in negotiation," said Brian Kocour of Grubb & Ellis/BRE Commercial.
But, a deal is nearly done for another large vacant spot in the same shopping center, the former Coomer’s Craft Mall. Kocour said the unnamed retailer could be doing business before the end of the month.
That would bring the center to 85 percent occupancy, up from 40 percent just months ago.
Also filling up part of a big box, Tres Hermanos, a California-based clothing store, expects to be open by Christmas in Sherwood Plaza, at the southwest corner of Main Street and Stapley Drive. A Mexican grocery store, Carniceria, already took over the rest of the shop space vacated by Paddock Pools.
At 2285 E. Baseline Road on the Mesa-Gilbert border, a Payday loan store picked up space at the Dahle’s Big & Tall center. A pizza shop is angling for space nearby.
MORE NEW STORES
At Biltmore Fashion Park, 24th Street and Camelback Road, L’Occitane En Provence promises to bring those stuck in the Valley, "the colors, scents and traditions of the south of France . . . through beauty, skin care and fragrance products for men, women and the home."
East Mesa mall Superstition Springs Center just got a couple of new shops — AT &T Wireless and Steak Escape.
In Carefree, a new H &R Block is revving up for tax season at the Bashas’anchored Carefree Marketplace, 36889 N. Tom Darlington Drive. And a Fitness for Life at the same shopping center found a new operator.
If you have a new shop to tell us about or you see activity at a retail location and are wondering what’s happening, let us know.