Harbison holiday shopping is hectic, but some love it that way

By Karamie Sullivan

Most Midlands residents know that if you are going to drive in the Harbison Boulevard area any time in December it’s going to require two things: a lot of patience, and a lot of gas in your tank.

Beginning on Black Friday and continuing into the last hours prior to Christmas Day, throngs crowd the area looking for their holiday presents. Specifically, Columbiana Centre pulls in an extensive amount of traffic, being the most largest mall in the Columbia area.

It is no surprise to mall employees that the crowds are piling in.

Property Manager Associate Ashley Thompson said the mall begins planning for the holiday shopping season long before the start of the holiday season.

All the retailers’ seasonal employees are an asset for this time of year,” she said. “As far as the mall employees, we up our maintenance, security, and all our staff. She said mall staff puts in as many hours as required because of the traffic.

According to Thompson mall personnel are not the only ones working hard. The Columbia Police Department helps out mall security with guiding traffic when the parking lots get packed.

As unlikely as it may seem, there are some shoppers who actually prefer to come out into the traffic and crowds to do their shopping. Kelly Pajares lives in Irmo. She has lived in the area for 30 years. She comes to the Columbiana Mall just about every year to do her shopping and says she wouldn’t have it any other way.

I like to come out in it, I like to watch the people, and just see what is on sale,” she said.

Pajares has already finished her shopping for her friends and family, but comes back out to shop close to Christmas for another reason. “I’m not gonna lie, I’m shopping for myself today,” she said. “There are always deals, because usually stores wait until the last minute to put things on sale right before Christmas.” She says she takes the side roads leading up to the Harbison area, and she doesn’t think the traffic is too bad that way.

Pajares is just one of the many doing some last-minute mall shopping, even if it is for herself. Thompson believes that it’s a great variety of stores for people to choose from, and can appeal to most any kind of shopper. “To have what we have, and all our new stores… it’s kind of hard to beat here,” she said.

Photos by Karamie Sullivan