Around F.C.

Father’s Day Gifts That’re Affordable and Unique to F.C.

BIKENETIC’S Helen Huley sells pizza cutters in the shape of a bicycle. (Photo: Patricia Leslie)

Falls Church shoppers don’t have to go far to buy gifts for Father’s Day.

From padded shorts to giant tweezers which pluck stuck items from drains to specialty beers, Little City retailers have shoppers covered for Sunday’s annual observance of dads.

The National Retail Federation says about three of four consumers will buy dad something for his big day which may only be a greeting card, the most popular purchase, but dads usually don’t expect much.

Individuals between 25 and 34 years old will be the biggest spenders this year at an average $188 per person, says the NRF. Shoppers spend about a third more for Mother’s Day presents, but with dads assuming more family responsibilities, sales of “dad things” are increasing. The latest U.S. Census Bureau figure for the number of fathers in the U.S. was 72.2 million in 2014.

And shoppers can find bargain buys in Falls Church, well below this year’s average national price of $133, says the NRF.

At Brown’s Hardware at the corner of North Washington and Broad streets last Saturday morning, Father’s Day shoppers and more were out in full force, to be welcomed by Dave Taylor, a Brown’s veteran of 19 years whom customers greeted by his first name.  

Brown’s gets plenty of traffic for Father’s Day, Taylor said.

“Wives come in.  They bring their children in to buy things for dad whether or not it’s gadgetry or power tool type things or electronic screwdrivers, stuff that dad may not have.”

Flashlights sell well all year, according to Brown, but especially now because it’s thunderstorm and hurricane season.

“Lanterns are a real nice versatile gift because not only are they an actual lantern, but when you close it, it’s also a flashlight when the power goes out, and you want to light up a whole room.

Even for elderly dads or grandpa’s, Brown’s has canes and walking sticks individually handmade in Texas with each one having a little story attached about the person who made it.

The one item which is a more popular gift for Father’s Day than Mother’s Day is — you guessed it — alcohol. For the beer and wine lover, up the street from Brown’s is Dominion Wine and Beer at 107 Rowell Court which, like Brown’s and every retailer visited, has gift cards.

“We see a lot more wives coming in for Father’s Day that we don’t normally see, who want gift ideas for their husbands,” Sam Dial, a Dominion employee, said. “We sell more beer for Father’s Day, but there are still some wine dads.”

New to drink are beers which arrive weekly at Dominion from breweries around the U.S., including several in Virginia.

The store sells draft beer in 32 ounce cans (“crowlers”) and 64 ounces bottles (“growlers”).

The cans “are really popular,” said Tafakor and start usually around $7 but can go up to $30 a can, for a “limited beer we may get once a year or every few years. They are aged in bourbon barrels.”

Another beer craft retailer, Audacious Aleworks, is not far away at 110 East Fairfax Street and has been open about a month. It, too, has gift cards, said Brian Reinoehl, co-founder of the microbrewery which brews on site.

Last Saturday morning bikers in colorful gear sipped cold brews at the bar after a 30-mile ride on the W&OD Trail.

Gear for biker enthusiasts, whether beginner or veteran, is available at Bikenetic at 201 West Jefferson Street where Helen Huley, the co-owner, displayed racks of merchandise.

“We do see more shoppers coming in for Father’s Day and it definitely depends upon what kind of a bike rider they are shopping for,” Huley said. “If they are avid cyclists or commuters and they have a lot of stuff we would point them to more ‘gitchy-kitchy’ stuff but if they are kind of just starting out and need  accessories, we have a ton of options for that.”

She said a biking computer for distance and speed to keep track of the miles, can be “motivating.”

For Father’s Day shoppers who may want their men to think about riding a bike to get in better shape, Huley said a gift card works best so a new biker can come in and be outfitted properly.

Bikes at the shop start at $350 but if that’s too steep for Father’s Day, cycling-themed socks are $12, and padded shorts and neon-colored shirts are $50.  

Helmets are always a good item, too, since their replacement is recommended every three to five years, Huley said.

“People come in with helmets which are 15 to 20 years old but the safety part starts breaking down. We encourage the newer helmet which is more comfortable, has more padding, is lighter, and has a lot of upgrades.”

Bikenetic also sells pizza cutters in the shape of a bicycle for the dad who has everything and loves pizza.