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Layaway vs. Store Credit Cards

credit-cardsRecent economic turmoil has led to a resurgence in layaway plans, a payment alternative that originated amidst the Great Depression. In a time of severe budgetary restrictions, layaway was a valuable resource for those who couldn’t afford payment-in-full. Layaway allows an individual to put money down on an item, essentially putting it on hold, in order to make payments over time until the balance is paid in full. At that point, the item is theirs to take home.

For years, layaway was overshadowed by the advent of store credit cards, making a comeback in recent years. This holiday season, while you’re filling your sleigh with gifts and goodies, consider the pros and cons of these two payment options.

Store Credit Cards

In the 1980s and 1990s, stores began offering their own credit cards. The credit plans allowed consumers to overspend at will, while the stores charged interest on past due balances. Debt on department store charge accounts became one of the leading causes of financial trouble for Americans.

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Finish Your Holiday Shopping at the Engstrom Jewelers Designer Trunk Show and Open House

Engstrom-Designer-Trunk-Show-2011Engstrom Jewelers will be hosting its annual Designer Trunk Show and open house this weekend. The event will kickoff with the amazing Designer Trunk Show on Friday, December 9, 2011, from 9am to 9pm. The Designer Trunk Show will be host to beautiful designer pieces, ranging in price from $100 to $50,000, at the incredible savings up to 50% off. An event you surely do not want to miss!

The open house continues throughout the weekend with extended shopping hours and beverages and hors d 'oeuvres.

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Vote for The Bargain Barn, Benefit Opportunity Enterprises!

Bargain-Barn-Melissa-Doug-DisplayBargain Barn is participating in the Ultimate Display contest with Melissa and Doug toys! Selected as a finalist from a pool of stores around the nation, help the Bargain Barn win the Grand Prize by “liking” and commenting on their photo submission on the Melissa and Doug Facebook page! If Bargain Barn wins, they will donate $500 worth of Melissa and Doug products to Opportunity Enterprises!

Bargain Barn currently carries the largest selection of Melissa and Doug in Valpo. Beautifully crafted old-fashioned toys, the products promote imagination and education for children of all ages (ages 5-95!) Some of the puzzles and other items from Melissa and Doug are currently used in a variety of departments at Opportunity Enterprises, so OE could definitely use the donation!

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4 Inches of Snow and Your Engstrom Jewelry Purchase Will Be Free!

Engstrom-Holiday-2011Looking to make a jewelry purchase this holiday season? Engstrom Jewelers is running a special promotion, and any purchase made could wind up being free!

Here's how it works: Any purchase made between November 25, 2011 and December 24, 2011 will have the full purchase price refunded (minus sales tax) if the Engstrom Jewelers location where the purchase was made gets 4 inches of newly fallen snow on January 1st, between 12:01 AM and 11:59 PM (a 24-hour period).

Engstrom Jewelers has two locations, one in Valparaiso and one in La Porte. The Valparaiso location got the snow and paid out in 2008, and the La Porte location paid out in 2009. Keep up to date with the snow forecast by visiting!

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Holiday Shopping: How to be Nice, Not Naughty this Season

With black-friday-crowdBlack Friday quickly approaching, gift giving is on my mind. As visions of loved ones opening their presents dance in my head, a less heartwarming thought creeps in: how to deal with poor customer service.

I’m not talking about retailers’ professionalism – I’m referring to impolite (and often downright rude) – customers.

I’ll never forget the year that a new employee was working the day after Thanksgiving at one of my favorite stores. As I stood in a long line for what felt like an eternity, I enviously watched shoppers in the other lines pay for their items and leave. Was I frustrated? Yes. Was I envisioning cookies from the food court as lunchtime approached and my stomach started growling? Of course. But some of my fellow shoppers were acting like they wanted to take a bite out of the rookie!

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Simply Amazing Market to Host Holiday Open House

Simply-Amazing-Hoilday-Market-2010The Opportunity Enterprises Simply Amazing Market will host a Holiday Open House on December 2 from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm, and December 3 from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. Visitors will be able to enjoy product samples, enter into prize drawings, and take advantage of special sale items and a coupon for $5 off a purchase of $25 or more.

The market will also offer free photos with Santa on December 3 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.

While shopping in the market, visitors can also enjoy shopping at a Holiday Gift Extravaganza on Saturday, December 3 from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, featuring gifts from Avon, Scentsy, Pampered Chef, Creative Memories, Thirty-One, Willow House, Tupperware, Mary Kay, and Cookie Lee. Catalog orders will be accepted, and grab-and-go items, along with door prizes and giveaways, will be featured. A portion of proceeds with be donated to Opportunity Enterprises.

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The Annual Lakeshore Holiday Gift Auction is Here!

Lakeshore-Holiday-Gift-AuctionThe Lakeshore Holiday Gift Auction is back and better than ever! We have HUNDREDS of great items waiting for you to bid on! Things like sports collectables from Notre Dame, Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Blackhawks and many many more of your favorite sports teams. Memberships and golf packages from the Youche Country Club, The Brassie, Valparaiso Country Club and more! We also have TONS of gift cards from restaruants all over the region and Chicagoland!

Make sure you register now at so you don't miss your chance to bid on these and MANY MANY more great items! You don't want to miss what we have in store for you this year. You'll be able to fill your Christmas shopping lists for all your friends and family AND pick up some great things for yourself in the process.

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