By Ryan Cornell
Two area stores celebrating their first Christmas at new locations are reporting healthy sales figures this holiday season.
At Press Start Video Games in Front Royal, the customers streaming in through the entrance on Thursday were just as constant as the ringing phone calls.
General Manager Taylor Bichel was splitting time between answering these calls, which inquired about the store's inventory and trade-in prices of used games, and assisting the many customers who wasted no time in spending their Christmas dollars.
"I'm expecting a lot of people to come in with gift cards," he said. "But mostly they've been coming in to spend their Christmas money."
Two shoppers, John Vinson and John Jenkins, spent Thursday morning scouring the array of Xbox 360 games for a Black Ops II map pack. The two had traveled from Mississippi to visit Vinson's family and needed to spend a store gift card before they left town.
Bichel said this season's top sellers have been the new Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles -- the latter, he said, is "a little bit ahead" in the race -- as well as games such as Call of Duty: Ghosts, Grand Theft Auto V, Battlefield 4 and NBA 2K14. Although these games were all released this past fall, he said retro games sold at the store, including games for the Sega Dreamcast and Nintendo Entertainment System, have also been popular.
Press Start, which has been located by Walmart north of town for the past six years and has added stores in Warrenton and Winchester in that span, opened its new, bigger location in the Gateway Plaza Shopping Center in mid-September.
Bichel said the days leading up to Christmas have been a "pretty awesome time."
"There have been slow days and busy days, but it goes by like crazy," he said. "I've been happy, especially at this new location."
Another business that celebrated its first Christmas is Honeybee Home Décor, a Strasburg art and gift store that opened its doors in May.
Owner Anna Jenkins said the holiday season started off slowly at first in terms of sales, but eventually picked up this past weekend.
"I think people did their big shopping first and then did their last-minute shopping here for those unique specialty gifts," she said.
She said Saturday, Monday and Tuesday saw particularly strong sales, and guessed people dodged Sunday's rain to shop inside the mall.
Her Christmas ornaments were popular items, but it's the country-style home décor that recorded the highest sales in the store, she said.
Although the shopping rush has died down, she said people who are expecting visitors this upcoming weekend have been taking advantage of post-Christmas discounts to buy gifts.
Jenkins, who is offering 50 percent off all of the Christmas-themed items in her store, said she's going to get to work creating items for next season.
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org