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Published: 6/15/2007

Dad might get an unusual gift for Father's Day

BY GARY T. PAKULSKI
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Fewer fathers will receive such traditional items as these neckties shown by retailer Jim Damschroder.
Fewer fathers will receive such traditional items as these neckties shown by retailer Jim Damschroder.
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Hand mom a toaster or similar gift on Mother's Day and you're liable to get burned.

But it's a different story on Father's Day.

At Kitchen Tools & Skills Ltd., in Perrysburg, Father's Day is one of the most popular holidays.

"Last year, people spent more on Father's Day than they did on Mother's Day," owner Sharon Dela-Hamaide said.

Toasters aren't a hot item. But Father's Day shoppers this year are snapping up $30 Japanese Santoku-style knives, grill thermometers, cookbooks, aprons, and gift certificates for cooking classes.

Shoppers nationally will spend an average of $98 on Father's Day this year, up from $89 last year, according to the National Retail Federation.

And while lots of fathers will get traditional gifts like tools and clothing, many people are opting for non-traditional gifts.

"What's funny is I haven't sold a tie for Father's Day yet and I have never have received a tie for Father's Day," clothing salesman Irwin Young said when asked about the proverbial American Father's Day gift.

"I think the deal of giving a tie for Father's Day is over," said Mr. Young, who works at Damschroder's Suit Connection on Monroe Street.

Occasionally, gift-givers will seek a novelty tie, such as one geared for the Ohio State Buckeyes or a specific professional teams, but rarely does someone buy Dad a premium $37 tie anymore, Mr. Young said.

For example, at Suburban Aviation Inc. in Ottawa Lake, Mich., a shopper who called about flight lessons for her father ended up buying the firm's introductory "discovery" flight. At $63, it sends a would-be pilot into the air for a half hour and gives him the opportunity to feel what it would be like to be at the controls of the aircraft, said the firm's Travis Weisenberger.

At Wildwood Antiques Center, Springfield Township, Life magazine covers from the dad's birth year are popular. Prices depend on who is pictured on the cover. "Kennedy... might go for $15; a Nixon might go for $8," a clerk said.

A quarter of Father's Day shoppers -and 38 percent of offspring 18 to 24 - will select books and CDs, according to the retail federation.

Ms. Dela-Hamaide, of Kitchen Tools & Skills, credits the Food Network for drawing more men to cooking.

"It has been a good holiday," she said of Father's Day this year. Items related to outdoor-grilling have been especially popular, she added.

At the Legacy Golf Club in Ottawa Lake, Mich., the course is booked solid for Sunday. "We sold a lot of gift certificates for Father's Day," said Bobby Plumer, an employee in the club's pro shop.

Children and women have come in of late to buy $125 gift certificates, he said, which can pay for a $56 round of golf and leave money for extras like food at the club's restaurant or accessories like shirts or golf balls, he said.

Nationally, the most common purchase is a simple greeting card. Seventy percent of offspring surveyed by the retail trade group plan to pick them out.

People typically spend $2 or $3 on a card, although a new line of "sound cards" with music and other audio have been selling well at $6 each, said Kristin Humphries, manager of Gen's Hallmark in Perrysburg.

Despite the popularity of non-traditional gifts, the overwhelming majority of fathers will get familiar items.

Among offspring surveyed by the retail federation, 43 percent planned to take their father to dinner or on some other outing; 37 percent planned to buy clothes; 30 percent, gift certificates; 18 percent, electronics or computer accessories; 12 percent, home improvement or gardening tools.

Blade Business Writer Jon Chavez contributed to this report.



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