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Local shops cross fingers for Christmas shopping

Wednesday - 12/11/2013, 4:54am  ET

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Imagine Artwear on King Street in Alexandria sells wearable art, from clothing to jewelry and accessories. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

WASHINGTON - This week's bad weather is the latest blow to local businesses already dealing with an extra-short Christmas shopping season.

This year, there are only four weekends to shop between Black Friday and Christmas Eve.

WTOP spoke with small business owners on King Street in Alexandria, Va., about it.

"This year it just seems more rushed and compressed, and plus the weather isn't helping," said Kate McMahon, manager of Ten Thousand Villages.

"I'm hoping that everyone's just going to go, 'Oh my God, Christmas is two weeks from tomorrow' and the next two weekends are going to be gangbusters, and we'll have lots of people in here and shopping," she added.

Through Sunday, Dec. 15, Ten Thousand Villages is offering 25 percent off all of its "winter woolens," including gloves, hats, scarves and ponchos.

Tami Peterson with Imagine Artwear says it was a little bit slow during the bad weather on Monday and Tuesday, but that changed.

"As soon as the sun came out, all of the shoppers came out."

All during December, Imagine Artwear has a coupon you can ask for in store, that will get you 15 percent off a single item, or if you buy more than thing, you'll get 15 percent off the most expensive item.

At Red Barn Mercantile, owner Amy Rutherford says sales in November were great, but this week's snow days were a setback.

"It has hurt us - those two days - because this is the critical part of the year that we get in the black."

She wants to see lots of eager shoppers in the next two weeks.

"I'm hoping that there are a lot of people who will be in (a) time crunch. I had a woman in here today who was just starting, so I think there's going to be a lot of that happening. We've had a lot of men come through - they're notorious last-minute shoppers."

Rutherford says she's still bringing in new items to entice Christmas shoppers, and this year she plans to start marking down items sooner than she has in the past.

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