DESPITE the heavy rains yesterday, Jamaicans still turned out in their numbers to make the most of the sales and bargains that were being offered by the participating stores in the Jamaica Observer's annual Take Style Out (TSO) shopping event.
While things got off slowly at the official 5:00 pm start of the evening's shopping activities in Half-Way-Tree and downtown Kingston, both customers and store owners were hopeful that things would improve as the evening progressed.
“No matter what happen, it (TSO) find a way to happen, so we'll see. But the rain is bad and the roads are bad, so you don't build up your hopes, but you still expect it will turn out good,” owner of Emmanuel Boutique, Clover Stewart told the Jamaica Observer just minutes after the event started.
Most small boutique owners located on the Southdale and Lane plazas, respectively, could be seen anxiously waiting for customers to enter, with several boasting additional amenities for customers such as Jaydah's Boutique that offered rum punch and cake as well as music for consumers.
A similar expectation was expressed by larger stores, such as Rapid True Value, which carries hardware and home improvement items.
“Based on the rain, we are just watching and hoping for the best. It's okay so far… but, as an initiative, TSO is good for business because it helps people to get extra stuff that they normally can't get because of prices,” senior cashier at Rapid True Value Kimberly Chisholm told the Observer yesterday.
“I think this is a better year when compared to previous years. Normally, most people come out for clothes and so forth, but now it kinda better because persons have expanded their shopping view,” she added.
Across the street at the Courts Constant Spring Road location, Store Manager Donna Ferguson stated that the annual activity has picked up speed over the years, as people have taken to TSO and look forward to shopping on the designated day in order to make the most of the fantastic offers they expect to see.
For Chantelle Latty, some of these offers were found at department store Ammar's, the Constant Spring Road location.
“It's going good so far. I like the prices I've seen. I'll be going other places as well. It's been good over the years, besides the crowd, although that is expected. But no, the rain nah guh stop me, because TSO is really good, you get what you want on a budget, and a sale is always good,” Latty said.
Also in Ammar's, mother and daughter duo Carol and Nicole Robertson were busy seeking the opinion of Nicole's co-worker, Rory McLean, on a few pieces of clothing.
According to Nicole, who is deaf, TSO is a good way for people to come and see what's new in the stores and also to see what's happening in the world of fashion for 2017 going into 2018.
“No, the rain didn't stop her. She planned to come and decided to come… In fact, her shoes got wet and they broke so on the way here, she stopped in Payless in Sovereign and bought slippers so she could come here and have something to walk in,” Carol, who was translating Nicole's sign language, stated.
Around the 6:00 pm mark, more people could be seen traversing between the plazas in Half-Way-Tree, with stores like Maxie Department Store and Payless ShoeSource in Springs Plaza seeing a steady flow of customers.
In fact, Raymond Winkle had just completed some work at the Maxie Department Store when he decided to stop and look at some of the store's offerings.
“Last year I took out my fiancée and end up spending what I didn't want to spend, but it's all about a sale, so you take advantage of it for the one night,” he said.
“It's a good initiative, which I think it is like you are planning for something… because for a particular night in the year prices go down, so you go for it,” he added.