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Published: Friday, 5/7/2004

Mother's Day not just for moms, now occasion for big spenders

BY JON CHAVEZ AND MARY-BETH McLAUGHLIN
BLADE BUSINESS WRITERS
Like many another shopper just before Mother's Day, Lori Zientara Edgeworth, of Toledo, looks over a selection of cards, at Gen's Hallmark Store in Westgate Shopping Center. Like many another shopper just before Mother's Day, Lori Zientara Edgeworth, of Toledo, looks over a selection of cards, at Gen's Hallmark Store in Westgate Shopping Center.
WADSWORTH / BLADE Enlarge

Sunday is Mother's Day, but shopping trends nationwide indicate the day is no longer just about mom.

Retail spending for the traditional day to honor mothers is growing nationwide, in part, experts and retailers say, because card and gift-giving is being extended beyond mom to wives, daughters, aunts, grandmothers, and other women who play significant roles in a person's life.

"It used to be people purchased additional greeting cards, but now it's growing to include flowers and other expensive items for people other than someone's own mother," said Ellen Tolley, a spokesman for the National Retail Federation in Washington.

People plan to spend an average of nearly $99 on Mother's Day items, up from $97 last year, the trade group's survey found. Total expenditures are expected to be about $10.4 billion.

About two-thirds of people surveyed said they planned to buy gifts only for their mother or stepmother. But another 7 percent said they would buy gifts for a grandmother, and 6 percent for a daughter, and 6 percent for a friend. Further, more than four out of every 10 men plan to buy for their wife. Married for 43 years, Walt Myers, of Toledo, lost count of the times he bought gifts for his wife from their four children for this weekend's holiday. But now that those children are ages 29 to 41, he needed another reason to present his wife with a present Sunday.

He looked no further than Mandy Sue, a 12-year-old schnauzer who is "the apple of

my wife's eye." He purchased a trinket that will be from the dog to Mrs. Myers. "I had to come up with a good excuse to give her something, and Mandy Sue's the last one at home," said Mr. Myers, a business consultant.

Fred Moor, a co-owner of Ken's Flower Shops based in Perrysburg, said Mother's Day is as busy as Valentine's Day for florists, with many people favoring a combination of flowers and some type of keepsake gift, such as a frame or vase.

"A lot of people see it as a day to remember that special person in their life, the person they look on as a second mother," he said. Men who used to tell their wives, "You're not my mother," now see the day as an opportunity to tell spouses they are loved, he said.

Stores started to notice an expansion of Mother's Day spending beyond moms about three years ago, the retail federation spokesman said.

Bob Christie, owner of Christie's Candies and Mints in Toledo, added: "It's just the last couple of years that we've noticed it. Other people have been advertising to do that, so maybe it's taken hold."

His wife, he said, might buy their daughter a gift because the child is a mother, too. "Husbands are coming in buying for their wives because they're a mother and we'll see a grandchild buying a gift for their grandmother because she means so much to them," he said.

Retailers have helped advance the trend.Pat Cannon, manager of Gen's Hallmark in the Westgate Village Shopping Center in Toledo, said there are a variety of cards for moms from people who aren't the child. "Now you have cards for anyone - friends, special people, new mothers, people expecting their first baby, even someone that's lost their mother," she said.

Cards have been selling well, as have other gifts, she added.

Megen Wiley, assistant manager of the Beauty Bar store in the Cricket West shopping center in West Toledo, reported brisk business yesterday, mostly from men shopping for their wives or for presents their children can give to their mothers.

"On the average, they're spending about $75 for a combination of manicures and pedicures," she said.

The Home Depot store on Secor Road plans tomorrow to give children a pot and allow them to plant a flower for their mothers. Manager Don Mandeville said the store's busiest section this weekend will be its garden center, where buyers will look for plants to honor the mothers and other special women.Jeffrey Mann, of Jeffrey Mann Jewelers in Sylvania, who recently renovated the former Taylor Cadillac store on Monroe Street for his store, said he expects to be busy today and tomorrow."Mother's Day is a definite last-minute gift giving holiday," said Mr. Mann.

Many of his visitors likely will be men who will let their children pick out the gift. "Sometimes, a dad will ask, 'what do you think Mommy will like?' and the kids will pick out the least expensive item here," Mr. Mann said. "Other times, they pick out one of the more expensive items and the dad has a dilemma."

Contact Jon Chavez at:

jchavez@theblade.com

or 419-724-6128

Contact Mary-Beth McLaughlin at:

mmclaughlin@theblade.com

or 419-724-6199



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