They were doing the hustle of last minute Christmas shopping Tuesday morning despite snow squalls and some thankful patches of sun.

Two lines of customers waited patiently to buy last minute gifts at Dunham’s at Ashtabula Towne Square late Tuesday morning.

“Last minute shopping for my son’s girlfriend. Just a few last minute gifts,” said Chrissy Tobias of Conneaut.

David Torok, general manager of Ashtabula Towne Square said the final figures aren’t put together until after Christmas, but felt the Christmas shopping season had gone well.

“Real well. We had a very good Christmas season. We had a lot of exciting marketing events and we had Santa,” Torok said.

The Ashtabula Kiwanis Club gift wrapping station volunteers were busy wrapping presents and volunteer Chad Giangola said it was a good Christmas shopping season.

Giangola said donations were good and people coming to the mall were there to buy not just browse. “They are here to shop,” he said.

Giangola said 100 percent of the gift wrapping donations stay in Ashtabula County to help area children. He said the club supports the Reading is Fundamental program and provides scholarships for area students.

Melody Shiflet, owner of Heartmade Boutique on Bridge Street in Ashtabula, said the early portion of the Christmas season was slow but picked up in the last week.

“The closer we get to Christmas the better things get,” she said.

Nick Dalrymple, general manager of Marianne’s Chocolates on Bridge Street, said the Christmas shopping season went really well.

 “I think we will see an increase. We have seen an increase every year,” he said.

The sale of chocolate covered cherries was especially intense this year. He said he doesn’t know why that particular item was in such demand.

“It caught us by surprise,” he said.

“Do you notice it is all men in here,” said Ralph Varckette while picking up a few last Christmas Presents at Carlisle’s in the Harbor. He said he was also planning to meet with his brothers for lunch.

“It’s tradition,” he said.

Ren Carlisle, owner of the store, said it was the best Christmas shopping season in the 11 years the store has been open on Bridge Street in Ashtabula.

“I think the whole lower Bridge Street is more vibrant,” Carlisle said. He said it has become a destination and his store has been the beneficiary of that trend.

People were already waiting at the door at 10:30 a.m. when Karen and Lauri Maki opened the door’s to Hil-Mak Sea Foods in Ashtabula Harbor for the Christmas Eve fish rush.

“This part of my Italian tradition,” said Kathleen Socchia of Ashtabula while picking up lobster.

“It goes back to my childhood. It became a tradition when I was a teenager,” she said. Socchia’s timing was impeccable as the order was near going up for sale.

“They were going to go to the highest bidder,” said Richard Crockford who was at the shop to purchase fish for his sons who live in California and South Dakota.

He said they started the tradition of coming to Hil-Mak’s restaurant when the children were between four and eight years old. “They used to draw pictures on the place mats,” Crockford said.

Make said the crew started work at 7:30 a.m. to have all the orders ready for the mad rush.

All the fish orders are prepared in small white boxes. “We start frying at 11 a.m. and it goes non-stop till 6 p.m.,” she said.

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