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Linda Kellett - Esther Nurnberger, owner of Esther’s Budget Shop


Local shoppers check out Midnight Madness

Thursday, November 22, 2012 - Updated: 8:39 AM


C-S-E News Staff

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FORT PLAIN — Bustling browsers, buyers and bargain-hunters beat the Black Friday mayhem by a week, beginning their holiday shopping with a stroke of Midnight Madness here late last week.

A half dozen local businesses were open late Friday, offering discounts, sales, free food, drawings, demonstrations and entertainment to the many area shoppers who ventured out on a seasonably cool, clear night.

Among the local merchants participating in the traditional pre-holiday event included the Dome49 restaurant, Wm. Doerrer & Son Jewelers, The Lotus Center for Wellness and Self Care, The Sportsman’s Den, Linda’s Consignments, Kathy’s Attic and Thrift Shop, True Value Hardware and Esther’s Budget Shop.

Fort Plain resident Angel Maynard was among those dropping in at Linda’s Consignments on Main Street. She said, “I shop here a lot. I love this store. I actually bought a costume here for Halloween.”

Linda Scaffidi-Fonti, who has owned the consignment shop for about five years, said it features new and used apparel, Avon products, household items and more. “My customers are like my friends,” she said.

Scaffidi-Fonti said the turnout for this year’s event was “great,” with “lots and lots of locals stopping in.”?In conjunction with her Midnight Madness sales and promotions, the business owner was using the event to launch her “giving tree” campaign: Two trees donated by area resident Bill Pitcher were displayed in the front window of her shop.

“One is for boys and one is for girls,” she said, noting that tags with gift-buying information for about 20 local children have been hung on the trees.

Interested participants can buy and return gifts for the youngsters by the Dec. 14 deadline. “They’ll be distributed Dec. 20,” she said. “We’re always trying to give back to the community.”

Also open and offering demonstrations in aerobics, massage, healing touch and the like was the Lotus Center on Center Street. Among those present were Steve and Tammy Heiser, of Fort Plain.

Steve, who has neuropathy in his feet, comes to the center to get reflexology treatments from physical therapist Andrea Evans. His wife said, “The reflexology she does on his feet really helps him.”

Evans said reflexology is an alternative medicine involving the application of pressure to various parts of the feet and hands that are believed to connect to different zones of the the body.

Other professionals present for the event included Irene Mello, a healing touch practitioner; Becky Sinner and Mary Cool, fitness instructors; and Tamara Mang and center Owner Valerie Lawson, licensed massage therapists.

Lawson said, “I appreciate everyone that supports us. If it wasn’t for their support, we wouldn’t be here.”

The center, which offers massage therapy, physical therapy, yoga, aerobics, manicures, pedicures, paraffin wax dip, infrared sauna therapy, tanning and a fitness center, has been open since Nov. 1, 2010.

Donna Doerrer, who was waiting on customers in Doerrer’s Canal Street jewelry store, said it had been a pretty busy night.

“We’ve been doing Midnight Madness for over 20 years,” she said, noting the business was among the first to get involved in the local-shopping initiative.

“The purpose, I think, is mainly to help people save money before Christmas because we do layaways,” she said.

Additionally, the local jeweler discounted sale items based on “percent-off” slips of paper stashed inside helium-filled balloons floating around the store. “[Customers] pick out what they want to purchase and pick a balloon, we pop it, and they get a percent off the retail price” — between 15 percent to 50 percent, Doerrer said.

Fort Plain resident Sevim Morawski, who was among those present, selected a balloon that reducing her cost by 25 percent.

While Esther Nurnberger, the owner of Esther’s Budget Shop on upper Canal Street, was experiencing a lull mid-evening, she was confident that people would flock back to the store when her 50 percent off sale kicked in between 10 p.m. and midnight.

Nurnberger, who sells mostly collectibles, books, toys, jewelry and the like, on Saturday said she had a good overall turnout during the annual, pre-holiday event.


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