Holiday Gift Guide:
While some local retailers reported better than normal Black Friday sales this year, others said Small Business Saturday brought more people into their stores. And overall, retailers said they are seeing similar numbers from last year.
An interesting observation made by two downtown merchants was that out-of-town shoppers made a noticeable impact in their holiday weekend sales.
At the Bargain Barn, Cynthia Spriggs said their advertised firearm specials left them “quite pleased” with Black Friday results. Spriggs said they were up a little from previous years at this point in the holiday season.
The Bargain Barn will likely have additional firearm specials later this holiday season as they sold out of some of the guns Friday.
Overall, Spriggs said they are seeing more people coming through their doors this year with spending amounts roughly the same as in past years.
For the whole of the holiday season, Spriggs was optimistic that they will have more in sales than in previous years, though she noted that the Saturday after Thanksgiving was a little slow, possibly because their clientele had been home with two big college football games on back-to back.
At Green Acres, off Hidden Creek Road on Highway 515 north of Jasper, Kathe Hall said Black Friday went “exceptionally well.”
“We had close to 100 people come in and steady sales all day,” she said.
Sales at the unique home décor shop were up about 33 percent for Black Friday. Hall attributed this to expanded hours.
“I decided to open early to catch those early bird shoppers and it certainly paid off,” she said. “We were open by 8:30 and closed at six. Normal hours on Fridays are 10-5.”
Hall said the Christmas décor items were definitely the hot sellers at Green Acres and they are having a “mingle and jingle” Holiday Open House this weekend to follow up on the success.
Peggy Rabin at Daisy Boutique said while Black Friday sales were down, Saturday saw more shoppers into her Main Street store.
“There seemed to be a lot of out-of-towners. That was interesting. It seemed to come in waves. There would be no one in the store and then suddenly lots of people all at one time.”
Rabin said shoppers on Black Friday were looking for deep discounts and said it’s hard for local shops to compete with big box stores and Amazon who can discount up to 75 percent off certain items.
“It wasn’t as busy as years past, but I have no complaints. It could have to do with there being more boutiques in town - which is good because it brings more people into town,” she said. “Everybody was really looking for those rock bottom prices.”
Rabin said Saturday was better for her shop than Friday but she “still didn’t reach my numbers from last year.”
Clocktower Gifts on Main Street also had a better Saturday thank Black Friday.
“Black Friday has never been a big day for us so we did a Black Saturday and it was awesome,” said Angie Burgess. “Our sales were almost double on Saturday what they were on Friday.”
Overall, Burgess said sales were about the same as last year.
“We did have a lot of out-of-town guests I guess visiting for the holidays. Our biggest seller was the Pandora jewelry, so jewelry and clothing were our biggest sellers this year. We are very pleased this year and looking forward to a great season.”
Designs on Main owner Carrie Roland said her store saw more Black Friday shoppers than on Saturday. Like other store owners, Roland thought competing with football games on Saturday afternoon was tough.
“Black Friday was busier for me than this year than last year,” Roland said. “We were pretty busy Friday afternoon. A lot of my shoppers were looking for Christmas gifts but a lot of people were out getting their Christmas decorations too. We redecorated my trees in the store no telling how many times (after selling decorations from them).”