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Cheers selling well for Christmas gifts
Mike Morowit of Miner Mart checks the gift-box display of Crown Royal while gearing up for the Christmas rush. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
It’s looked a lot like Christmas in Mike Morowit’s Miner Mart liquors since November.

And now that the holidays are finally here, so is the customer traffic that comes once the gift-giving and the parties shift into overdrive.

For the last 15 years, Morowit has ran the longtime Manteca business – founded by late family friend Bob Miner – with the small-town locally owned charm that has allowed his store to weather the arrival of larger grocery retailers that also carry an extensive selection of wine and spirits.

Once the holidays roll around, Morowit gets more than his fair share of Christmas greetings from customers that don’t even have to ask for what they’re going to buy.

He just puts it right up on the counter and chats away.

“What I love about doing this is that you get the chance to talk to people and there’s never a boring day,” Morowit said. “You get to deal with some real characters and it feels like you really get to know these people.

“When they come in they’re usually off work and that means they’re happy. Combine that with the holidays and you have a really festive conversation.”

As Thanksgiving started to wrap up, Morowit began receiving holiday-themed gift boxes that are popular during the holidays – items that include cocktail shakers or glasses or other themed-gifts that go along with the bottle purchased.

Now that the cold weather is here, Morowit says that sales of Christmas liquor like egg nog and brandy and various types of whiskey are big sellers.

“We start to get busier on Christmas Eve as people are stopping in to pick things up for dinner or as a last-minute gift for a friend,” he said. “We’re open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and those are usually two of the busier days that we have – especially since a lot of other stores are closed.”

And after Christmas passes, it’ll be the lead-up to the biggest party holiday of the year – New Year’s Eve.

With beer kegs and liquor the norm for the last night of the year, Morowit also says that the amount of champagne sold in just that one day is staggering.

“We usually sell more champagne for New Year’s than we do the entire rest of the year,” he said. “It’s a big time for us here.”

Miner Mart is located at 1046 W. Yosemite Avenue. The store will be open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day from 8 a.m. to midnight.