Unless you're 95 years old, you've never celebrated Easter as early as you will this year, which means you've never hopped from store to store gathering Easter baskets, chocolate bunnies and colored paper grass this early, either.

But despite less time to shop and economic hardships, Easter enthusiasts still are spending sweetly.

Nearly 80 percent of consumers plan to dole out more than $135 on Easter food, apparel, flowers, gifts, decorations and candy. With each consumer spending just 4 cents less than last year, the National Retail Federation expects the grand total to crack in at $14.44 billion.

For some reason, I don't think that figure includes the cost of renting baby chickens for the holiday, which you can do thanks to Legare Farms on Johns Island.

For $20, you can take a pair of chicks home and watch them grow from 2-day-old balls of down to 2-week-old feathered friends. After 14 days, you can choose to return the chicks or buy them for $10 more.

Chicks are available for pickup up either Friday and Saturday or April 11 and 12.

Almost all of the chicks available for Easter weekend are spoken for, but there are a few left, said owner Helen Legare.

The chicks tend to fly the coop fast, so now would be a good time to put your name on the list for April.

Legare Farms hatched the Rent-A-Chick program four years ago, and it has proved to be a good egg.

The farm typically starts with 40-50 sets of baby chickens for each period and always sells out over Easter, said Legare.

All chickens come with instructions, their own box to stay in, a water bottle and a two-week supply of food.

To rent a set of the little chirpers, call Legare Farms at 559-0788.

Vroom, vroom

The nation's largest used-car retailer is setting up its first shop in Charleston and bringing approximately 65 new jobs with it.

Richmond, Va.-based CarMax Inc. will open its 13,065-square-foot superstore May 1 off Savannah Highway just west of I-526.

CarMax currently operates 90 used-car superstores in 41 markets. During the 12 months ended Feb. 28, 2007, the company retailed 337,021 used vehicles and sold 208,959 wholesale vehicles at its in-store auctions.