But it still falls short of what's spent on Mom
Melena Houser Estrada and her friend Mackenzie Campbell, both 7, stood side by side in the card aisle of the Grape Road Mishawaka Meijer on Thursday.
They giggled in unison, as little girls tend to do, while looking at the poem or picture before debating whether it was more perfect for their dad than the card before it.
"My dad's funny. He calls me 'peanut feet,'" Melena says. "He makes funny faces and talks in silly voices and chases me up to bed. He means a lot to me."
Mackenzie could not wait to share her Mishawaka family's plan to celebrate and honor their dad Sunday.
"My mom is going to give me money to pay for dinner at Texas Roadhouse," she says proudly. Why do something so special for him? "Because he means the world to me."
Spending is expected to grow slightly this Father's Day compared with last year, according to a National Retail Federation consumer spending survey. Total spending could reach $13.3 billion, with the average consumer spending nearly $120 on Dad.
That figure, however, is dramatically lower than the amount of money spent for Mother's Day. Consumers spent more than $20 billion this year on their moms, with the average consumer spending about $50 more on their mom than their dad.
Those celebrating Father's Day will spend more than $2.5 billion on a special outing, such as tickets to a sporting event or dinner.
"Father's Day is not nearly the day out that Mother's Day is. I suppose it is still a residual of when Mom did all the cooking so Dad and the kids would take Mom out so she didn't have to cook," says Kurt Janowsky, owner of Cafe Navarre restaurant.
His downtown South Bend business will be busier than a normal Sunday, but not as busy as on Mother's Day.
Cafe Navarre expects to serve 200 guests, about half of its Mother's Day crowd.
"Dad may prefer to play golf as his treat, or go to a game," Janowsky says.
Tippecanoe Place general manager Sherri Huffer is seeing similar numbers. She expects about 450 diners on Father's Day, or about half the number of guests they see on Mother's Day.
"I think (the holiday) is celebrated, but in a more outdoor fashion with backyard barbecues, pool parties and gatherings at the beach," Huffer says.
Most consumers are planning to stick with traditional presents, from clothing to home improvement products to sporting goods, according to the retail federation's spending survey.
So it's not surprising that grills, tools and golf items seem to be selling quite well this week, says Rick Zeeff, store director at the Bremen Highway Mishawaka Meijer. Sporting goods and apparel are also popular purchases.
But like the restaurants,
Zeeff's store does not see the kind of spending they see surrounding Mom in May.
"I think less money is spent on dads because they are tougher to buy for. Many of them just say they don't need anything," Zeeff says.
We asked area dads on Facebook to tell us about their fav-orite Father's Day present. Many dads revealed they appreciated handmade presents and experiences more than material items.
Thom Villing, of South Bend, received tickets to a major league baseball game to share with his grandson.
Jim McClain, of Osceola, loved the coffee mug that his then 6-year-old daughter painted by hand.
Since becoming a dad, James Barath, of Chesterton, Ind., has made the Brickyard Chicago Lego event an annual trip with his son, Jai.
"This will be our fourth consecutive year and he talks about the event all year round," Barath says. "I'm not the guy that needs a lot of accolades and want to share my special day with my wife and son. My wife doesn't get the whole Lego thing, so it became a bonding experience for Jai and I."
Share the favorite Father's Day gift you ever received at facebook.com/thebasket.
Have you heard?
R&G Salon and Spa recently opened its doors at 4001 N. Main St., Mishawaka, north of Ritter's Frozen Custard. ... Emblazon Salon is planning a move. It is relocating June 25 from 115 N. Main St., downtown South Bend, to 2123 Edison Road, at the corner of Ironwood Drive. The building formerly housed Illusions, which is now Pure Emerald Salon & Spa and located at 1004 University Drive in Mishawaka, at City Plaza. ... All Tribune live chats -- including our weekly live discussion about retail and restaurants -- have been temporarily discontinued.
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Treating our dads
Father's Day spending is expected to reach $13.3 billion nationally this year. The average consumer will spend about $119.84, up from $117.14 last year. Here are some of the most popular ways money will be spent on Dad:
Special outing (sporting event or dinner): $2.5 billion
Electronics (tablet or GPS): $1.7 billion
Clothing: $1.8 billion
Gift cards: $1.8 billion
Home improvement or gardening tool: $755 million
Sporting goods: $710 million
Personal care items: $707 million
Automotive accessories: $592 million
Source: National Retail Federation