Luring Christmas Shoppers

The Corner Grocery at 801 South 11th Street in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The Corner Grocery at 801 South 11th Street in Lincoln, Nebraska. 1904 

Increased consumer demand from Thanksgiving through New Year’s has always been a boon to merchants. The Nebraska Trade Journal (Omaha) on November 24, 1893, advised even purveyors of such basic goods as hardware to put forth special efforts to attract holiday shoppers. In an article entitled “Holiday Hardware Windows,” the Journal counseled store owners:

“Put all the cutlery and bright, plated ware in the windows. This is legitimate holiday stock, and makes a brilliant showing. Skates and sleds will attract the children and if you will go to the trouble of fixing up a window with an imitation snow-bank or frozen pond, it will be very attractive indeed. A cutlery display may be made upon a wide board, back covered with dark Canton flannel, or a big wheel can easily be built in the window to carry the articles. If you have a spring or electric motor, it can be kept turning, or a small boy can be utilized at small expense.


“Another good idea in the cutlery and plated ware line is to set a table in the window with a snowy cover, and adorn it tastefully with such ware as you sell, of course, adding whatever else is needed to complete the effect, but keeping the metallic portion prominent. If you have a large window you can easily fix up an interior, showing the night before Christmas, with various presents labeled as, a pair of skates marked ‘For Johnnie,’ a toy stove ‘For Nellie,’ a set of razors ‘For Papa,’ a sweeper or tea pot, or silverware ‘For Mamma,’ an oil stove or foot-warmer ‘For Grandma,’ and so on. A large star or rosette made of cutlery is a pretty design and will prove attractive.


“If you handle lamps, set a lot of them in the window and light up a few. It will not hurt them, and you need not discount them very much to get rid of them.”


Several weeks later, on December 8, 1893, the Journal recommended holiday window displays to grocers: “Every grocer should make his show-windows attractive during the next two weeks, for herein lies the secret of the great success of very many who reap richly at the holiday season, and he who does not look after this matter has only himself to blame if his trade falls off or does not increase with the coming of Christmas and New Year.”


Brandeis Firestone Tire Company, 1712 Dodge Street, Omaha, NE

Brandeis Firestone Tire Company, 1712 Dodge Street, Omaha, NE. 1941

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