Many flock to mall for last-minute gifts

VIENNA — It was the day before Christmas and many still had shopping to do in a flash.

People flocked to the Grand Central Mall in Vienna on Sunday to pick up a last-minute gift or to get all of their shopping done in one big mad dash on Christmas Eve.

Members of the Parkersburg Woman’s Club manned the annual gift wrapping station outside of Belk’s. They ended up wrapping many gifts for a number of last-minute shoppers and people who needed a little help getting things finished up.

“We have been here since the sixth of November and we are here until 2 p.m. Christmas Eve,” said Susan Arbogast, co-chair of the Gift Wrapping Station project.

The station is one of the fundraisers for the Woman’s Club to support its projects throughout the year including scholarships, the “Brown Bag” food program for students at McKinley and Jefferson Schools; adopting residents at Eagle Pointe Nursing Home for Christmas and more.

Throughout the season, they have had around 40 people doing giftwrapping.

“The week before Christmas and the last couple of days before Christmas are always our busiest,” Arbogast said.

Going into the final days before Christmas, the club has seen a lot of guys bringing in gifts to have wrapped for their families and loved ones.

“They are probably our best customers,” said Carol Samson, co-chair of the Gift Wrapping Station project. “However, we have a lot of ladies and kids bringing stuff in to be wrapped.”

Saturday was an especially busy day for them. With six wrappers, they were telling many people they would have an hour wait before they would be done, Arbogast said.

“Some people would bring us stuff, go shopping and bring us more,” she said.

Throughout the season, people have been very appreciative of what the Parkersburg Woman’s Club was doing.

“We just ask for people’s patience,” Arbogast said. “We have not had anyone get upset.

“We have had many people tell us, ‘I don’t know what we would do if you all stopped.'”

Joe Ramsey, of Parkersburg, came to the mall Sunday knowing what he was going to get for his wife. He just waited until the last minute to pick it up.

“I didn’t have to figure it out,” he said. “I knew what she wanted and all I had to do was come out and pick it up.”

Since he knew, it was an easy shopping trip for him.

“If she doesn’t give me an idea of what she wants then I am a last minute shopper,” Ramsey said. “I would be wandering through the mall trying to figure out what to get.

“Since she told me what she wanted, it was very easy this year. It takes a lot of pressure off of me.”

Dave Cyrus, of Vienna, came to the mall Sunday to buy his wife a gift that will be a complete surprise for her, but it something she wanted.

“She doesn’t know I am getting it for her,” he said. “This is a spur of the moment, last minute thing.

“I left church and came right here to pick it up.”