Hoover Police say Galleria traffic is the busiest in years

HOOVER, AL (WBRC) - It's a Christmas tradition that seems almost as old as candy canes and stockings. It's called, "Fighting traffic at The Galleria in Hoover." And if you think the crowds this year seem bigger than ever, Hoover Police say you're right.

Hoover Police tell FOX6 News traffic last weekend from Friday through Sunday was the busiest it has been at The Galleria in the last several years, and they're expecting this coming weekend to be as busy if not busier.

A Wednesday night isn't a peak shopping traffic time, even the week before Christmas. But on this Wednesday night the Galleria's walkways were full of shoppers, many of them heading right for Bama Fever.

"We have a tight space here," said Bama Fever employee Kip Faught. "And usually people will see it, and they pick it up because they know it probably won't be here next week. Sometimes we have long lines heading out the store and towards the food court. But people know I've got to get it and get it now because it won't be here next week."

Bama Fever says its sales are up over this time last year due in large part to the Crimson Tide's wins over Auburn and Florida, and the anticipation of the national championship game.

The big game is now 22 days away. But store employees say part of that pickup is also because the Galleria is busier overall.

"We like to think it's a little bit of both," said Faught. "Because The Galleria, we feed off each other like that. It's not just a one-stop deal that you get in a lot of different other places. We depend on each other. And that's survival around here."

"We really don't have a handle on that at this time, but it does appear there are more shoppers there," said Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos. "And that's a good sign. And looking at the packages that people are carrying out, and hopefully we're gonna have a good year this year, we're very optimistic."

Hoover's mayor says the city faces another tough budget year even if sales tax revenues from this Christmas are up, but the better the Galleria does, the less painful the budget choices he may have to make.

"Absolutely," Petelos said. "The shoppers who come to the city of Hoover, it's very important to us, and they always have been because we are a sales tax based economy in the city of Hoover, therefore it's a very important aspect of our business."