Convenience stores a solution for last-minute shoppers

Wednesday, December 15, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 6:52 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 13, 2008

The corks are popped, the cookies are in the oven and a collection of wrapping paper sprawls across the floor.

The Christmas spirit fills the air along with the fear that accompanies the realization that you forgot to buy that special someone a gift. No worries; run to the closest convenience store.

Convenience stores are the answer to the last-minute gift buyer’s prayers. They are about the only places open on Christmas, and believe it or not, they offer more than just bags of Doritos.

Bottles of wine, fine cigars and floral bouquets adorn the shelves of many convenience stores.

“People will come in and buy cigars for others,” said James Wade, the owner of The Mini Mart in Columbia.

Columbia resident Barbara Allen knows the advantages of buying gifts at convenience stores.

“I’ve consistently bought gifts from convenience stores,” Allen said. “You can actually buy really cool things at convenience stores.”

Last year, Allen shopped at a convenience store for a Christmas gift for her mother.

“I bought snowman plates for my mom,” Allen said. “I’m actually considering going back and buying the gravy boat and stuff for her this year.”

Convenience stores usually offer acceptable Christmas gifts once you sort through the cigarettes and six-packs. Running shoes, poker tables and manicure sets are among the rare gift finds at convenience stores.

Even the smallest of convenience stores offer suitable Christmas gifts.

“I bought someone sunglasses and a wallet for Christmas one time at Chevron,” said Andy Farris of Columbia. “I forgot to buy my friend a Christmas present so I stopped at Chevron on the way to his house.”

Although most convenience stores are open on Christmas, some smaller convenience stores are not.

“We are not open on Christmas or Christmas Eve,” Wade said.

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