Photo: June Yacubian (Mrs. Claus) helping customers at The Toy Store in Belmont during Midnight Madness, Dec. 2, 2014.
Over in The Toy Store of Belmont, Mrs. Claus had just heard that Santa Claus will be accompanied by “his wife” during his annual visit to Belmont Center on Thursday.
“He’s bringing someone other than me?” Ms. Claus declared. “Santa Claus is a bigamist?”
Not really. While dressed much like Ol’ Saint Nick’s significant other, The Toy Store’s Mrs. Claus is actually June Yacubian who was busy helping a customer well past the usual closing time of the store located adjacent to the former Macys site on Leonard Street.
She and the staff of “the happy place in the Center” along with nearly two-dozen other stores in Belmont Center remained open until the First Church’s bell struck 12 participating in the 5th annual Belmont Center Midnight Madness holiday sale spree.
Sponsored by the Belmont Center Business Association, the sale – in which many stores provided deeper discounts as the hour grew later – provides a unique opportunity for local shoppers to do their holiday gift purchasing without having to rush home during the work day or wait until the weekend.
Over at bessie blue, Ali and Dandy Lion (3/4 chihuahua, 1/4 Pomeranian) assisted nearly two-dozen shoppers – some dressed up, others not so – with the latest fashion while in Marmalade, everyone dressed in matching pajamas to greet a steady stream of customers.
“We have people asking for weeks, ‘Is the midnight sale this week? When is it’?” said bessie blue’s owner Lee Gaston, who calls the event a great way to start the holiday season.
Owner Lisa Castagno was fighting jet lag at her store, the consignment shop, Revolve, as she predicted a surge in shoppers when the discounts would begin on designer handbags at 10 p.m.
“We had customers waiting in the store until it was 6 p.m. so they could get 20 percent off. We never had that in the past,” she said.
For Champions Sporting Goods, Gerry Dickhaut said he saw business pick up around 7:30 p.m. “after the mom’s put the kids to bed and can get out of the house,” noting the majority of participants have been and continue to be women.
“This is a great way to know our customers since we have more time to talk to them,” he said.
At Chocolate Dream, Vicki Frassica said that despite the rainy conditions, the night is “definitely very successful” in the past half decade.
“It’s nice to get a deal, and it’s nice that nearly everyone [of the stores] does it,” she said.