Valley View Mall in Onalaska opened its doors earlier than usual on Tuesday morning. Shoppers headed out in full force ready to spend their gift cards and Christmas cash.
Just last week, the malls were filled with people trying to find the perfect gifts. Whether it was a gift card to their favorite store or a sweater that was just one size to small, it was those gifts that brought dozens of shoppers back to the mall on Tuesday.
"We opened early this morning--8 a.m. instead of 10 a.m. Still open until 10 p.m. tonight," said Laurie Cafe, Marketing Director of Valley View Mall. "What today is going to be is a lot of people taking their time getting up this morning, having coffee and breakfast with the family, and then everybody's going to be out here."
"I got a couple of sports games and a hunting game, because I play XBox with my dad," said shopper Cade Pierce.
Many stores in the mall are featuring some of the lowest prices of the season, including Francesca's.
"We've been here since 5 o'clock this morning marking down literally the whole store," said Amity Hill, Boutique Team Leader of Francesca's. "So, every single thing in our store is marked down."
"You're going to see a lot more high percentages off, so maybe shopping after Christmas isn't such a bad idea," Cafe said.
Although there are discounts for shoppers the day after Christmas, for some it is not about the deals. It is about spending time with family.
"We usually do this every year," Pierce said. "Day after Christmas, go in. If you've got gift cards, money, go in and get some good deals."
Sandy Munson also spent the morning shopping with her family.
"What's crazy about today is the lack of people out," Munson said. "Normally it's swamped, and everywhere we've gone, we've even asked the people who worked at the store, 'Where is everybody?' and they're like, 'I don't know.'"
The crowds are expected to grow as Christmas gatherings draw to an end.
"We tend to do a lot of exchanges, Santa-fixing should we say," Cafe said. "Maybe grandma got the wrong color or the wrong size or something like that. Or, quite frankly, you just didn't like the item and there's something else you'd rather have."
Cafe said the stores are more lenient with return policies during this time of year. She encourages those looking to return or exchange items to bring gift receipts and any information about the initial purchase with to make the transaction easier.
Cafe said online shopping does have an impact on mall traffic; however, she said many shoppers in the Coulee Region prefer visiting stores and seeing items in person before making a purchase.
Valley View Mall will have extended shopping hours through the end of the year.
Those at the mall said the focus shifts to New Year's Eve shopping and tropical apparel for what Cafe calls 'resort season.'