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Tlaquepaque Village

cityofsedonalogo.gifSedona’s retail businesses are reporting healthy increases in Christmas shopping this year.

“We have three years of holiday experience here in Sedona and we get busier every year starting in October,” Joe Neri said. “It’s been exceptionally good this Thanksgiving weekend.”

By Susan Johnson
Larson Newspapers

Sedona’s retail businesses are reporting healthy increases in Christmas shopping this year.

“We have three years of holiday experience here in Sedona and we get busier every year starting in October,” Joe Neri said. “It’s been exceptionally good this Thanksgiving weekend.”

Neri and his wife, Kris Neri, own The Well Red Coyote, an independent bookstore located at the corner of W. Hwy. 89A and Dry Creek Road.

The Neris set their store apart from the Barnes & Nobles and Borders of the world by hand-selecting every book.

“We spend a lot of time looking for titles that can’t be found anywhere else,” Neri said.

Don Thompson, co-owner with Lynn Karl of Buffalo Don’s Corral in Uptown’s Oak Creek Marketplace, also had good sales over the holiday weekend.

“Thanksgiving and the day after, Black Friday, were two of our best days of the year,” Thompson said.

Thompson and Karl focus on offering clothing and gifts that are made in America, which wins them a lot of customers.

“We were worried about how overseas tourists would respond to that but it’s been extremely positive with people from all over the world, including those from Asia,” Karl said. “The strongest trend we’re seeing is that our shoppers want value for their money.”

For Diego Constante, Christmas revenues ring up the register 363 days of the year.

Constante owns Feliz Navidad, a store in Tlaquepaque dedicated to celebrating Christmas.

Offering decorations and Nativities from around the world, the store specializes in items made by local artists as well as artists throughout Arizona, Poland and Germany.

“For this store, September through December are the best months of the year and when we light the luminaria is absolutely the best day of the year,” Constante said, referring to Tlaquepaque’s tradition of lighting 6,000 of the beacons.

Sedona Music Boxes is another of his businesses in Tlaquepaque, one with revenues spread more evenly throughout the year and especially during Sedona’s traditional fall and spring tourist seasons.

“Music boxes are not limited to Christmas,” Constante said. “They are for anniversaries, birthdays, the birth of a child.”

While Neri offers an eclectic selection of worldwide books and authors, he also devotes a whole section of the bookstore to Southwestern themes, including the travel and autobiographical works of Edward Abbey, as well as mysteries written by his wife, Kris Neri.

Thompson and Karl sell shirts, hats and a wide variety of other gifts that celebrate the icons of Sedona and Arizona along with items having a patriotic theme.

Constante’s decorations and music boxes both include a wide selection of mementoes that represent Sedona and the desert and also offer more traditional gifts from Europe.

While Sedona’s businesses work hard to set themselves apart from big box retailers, local residents and people who work in Sedona use a variety of strategies to complete their holiday shopping.

“I don’t shop on the Internet and I don’t plan on starting,” said Meaghan Mount, a barista and an artist who uses mixed media to produce abstract works.

“My family likes to get artwork for Christmas and so I make most of my gifts,” Mount said. “When I buy something, I like to shop locally for unusual scarves and fine soaps and lotions.”

Chuck Wright, a tour guide for Sedona Offroad Adventures, plans on the other extreme.

“This year, I’m going to try to shop exclusively on the Internet because the rest of my family is back in Florida,” Wright said. “But, I might go to Sedona Art Mart to get things that are uniquely Southwest.”

His colleague at the tour company, Joe Holman, is a self-proclaimed Mr. Gadget who did most of his shopping last year on the Internet.

“I like the fact that I can pick out exactly what I want. This year, I’ll be upgrading our electronics and doing almost all our shopping on the Internet again,” Holman said. “Except for jewelry. I’ll get that at Wayne B. Light.”

Sara Adcock, a personal banker for Desert Hills Bank, usually shops at the malls in Prescott and Flagstaff for Christmas, but this year she plans to do her shopping on the Internet.

“I have two young children, so I like not having to go out,” said Alcock who will be surfing the Web for clothes and toys.

Although both Holman and Wright said they would drive to the Village of Oak Creek or even to Phoenix to avoid the nearly 10 percent sales tax in Sedona, Neri feels it’s an added incentive to shop locally.

“By giving Sedona businesses a chance, either to have what you want or to locate what you want, you’re paying taxes that are supporting your own town instead of someone else’s.”

Susan Johnson can be reached at 282-7795, Ext. 129 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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