Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, the Caribou Village Shopping Center businesses geared up for the Black Friday plunge into holiday gift purchasing. But Ned’s shopping aura differs a great deal from the feeding frenzies that take place in the malls down below.
If there are lines, they are friendly. Many shops offer local discounts. Most items in local shops are unique, creative, and special, not found elsewhere. Restaurants and coffee shops offer a respite from the search for the perfect gift, and there are deals for the skiers, hot drinks for cold hands and little hands.
In Dot’s Diner, hot chocolate with whipped cream is complimentary for kids under 12 and for skiers with a pass. Dot’s also serves up the kind of breakfast that is as good as the Energizer Bunny for the shop-’til-you-drop pre-Christmas mission.
In front of the Candy Man shop, a purple air-blown wiggly thing (also known as an air dancer) spread its arms and did back flips in front of the purple-striped store front, trying to catch the attention of the skiers. Inside, Shae Sprong weighed pounds of candy, the perfect stocking stuffer. In addition to their regular fare, the shop is getting in Turkish Delight and Jelly Bean Nougat.
The sweet treat of the season is the Vintage Candy Bouquet, an elegant arrangement of great classic candy, a totally original gift. Shae says they are bringing back their rich hot chocolate…they’ll give you a cup of hot milk and you add the chocolate of your choice. All of that and you get a free view of Nederland.
One of the oldest businesses in town, the Dam Liquor Store is stocking up on gift packages, favorite beers, fine wines and holiday liqueurs, made for sipping by an open fire. Patrick Anderson took home a six pack of Isolation Ale and some Bulleit bourbon, saying it was time to lie back and watch the Bronco game with his wife Antoinette and get ready for the season. Egg nogs with four kinds of booze are on special for those warming social moments.
Next to Dam Liquor, the Mountain Man is offering a 25 percent, $60 to $45, discount on his Carhartt flannel-lined jeans, the warm, well-made choice of those who plan to spend their winter outdoors. This is the last of the jean collection as Carhartt is changing the line and they won’t be available until next fall.
When the children show signs of having a meltdown, buy a $1 ticket for a ride on the animal of their dreams at the Carousel of Happiness, a treat they will never forget. This Saturday, November 29, the Carousel will join the nation in Small Business Saturday, with all participating shops giving a 10 percent discount.
The Nederland Visitors Center will be part of the discount day and has a great selection of Nederland souvenirs to send to out of state friends and family, including a Dave Felkley edition of Miner’s Day tee-shirts and Gateway posters.
In the lower shopping center bay, the Wild Bear Mountain Ecology Center is a smorgasbord of green gifts, items created all over the world. For three weekends, the center will host an arts and crafts market, open on November 29-30, December 13-14 and December 20; there is room for more booths. The market will feature demonstrations by the artists and craftspeople.
The Very Nice Brewery is offering a very nice bonus for locals who shop locally. Spend $20 in town, have a dated receipt, and Very Nice will give you a buy-one-get-one-free Flagship beer. Or if you have an Eldora Mountain Resort pass or lift ticket dated that day, you get the same deal.
Owner Susan Green says Very Nice is selling their first anniversary brew, Phunkin Monster, and there are only a few cases left. The bottles are numbered and signed, saved from last year.
Train Car employees are spending the next month changing up their menu in time for the new year. In the meantime, they have created homemade soup with a mouthwatering twist. How about bacon and dill pickle soup, with chunks of bacon, potatoes, carrots and the tang of a dill pickle? Their regular fare of mini-donuts and their signature Roaster’s Coffee are a perfect morning treat and they serve frozen yogurt all year long.
EMR pass holders and ski area employees get a 15 percent discount and a five-punch-and-get-one-free card, which is the fastest road to free coffee.
The shopping center anchor, B & F Mountain Market, has filled its shelves with holiday candies, baked goods, and drinks for festive feasts and stocking stuffer treats. Turkeys and chickens and ducks may be found in the frozen section for those who want to impress their guests with a turducken. And they still have Honeycrisp apples for those who know the difference.
The shopping center businesses are just the beginning of what Nederland has to offer for holiday shopping. In the next few weeks we will visit both the downtown shops and the outlying shops to discover other seasonal good-deal opportunities.