TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) Holiday shopping in the month of December brought a much-needed boost in sales for many small businesses in the region. As they look ahead to January, they are expecting a tough month.
When you factor in the pandemic alongside fewer shoppers, the start to 2021 will be more challenging than ever.
“The holidays were what we were looking forward to help but honestly through social media and things like that we have been able to still do pretty well through the store,” said Amanda Richardson, co-owner of Mercantile 423.
“We went back to building our online client base, to doing live sales, to making connections with the customers and getting to know them on a personal level,” said Katie Wilt, area manager for Pretty as a Peach.
“We have offered curbside for anybody who requests a pickup online, we try to be on social media every day doing stories and posts,” said Richardson.
January is also always a tough month for small flower shops.
“We actually did a little more than we did last year as far as holiday sales,” said Downtown Flowers and Gifts owner Amy Roberts. “But, typically for the floral business it slows down until Valentine’s Day or another holiday.”
The shop says this year has been especially hard on florists because so many events they typically provide flowers for have been canceled, like weddings, proms, even funerals.
“In any type of business with this going on you have to be proactive and do things that your customers are needing. For instance at Christmas we came up with Whoville trees made from Christmas greenery that last a lot longer than fresh flowers. We even have delivered things to their home that they have purchased so they don’t have to come out,” said Roberts.
Small business owners say even though you are done with your holiday shopping, now is the time to continue shopping local.
“When you come into our store to support any of our businesses in the store you are supporting families,” said Richardson.
Pretty as a Peach’s manager says because of the community’s support, they were able to give back this year. They donated $2,000 to pancreatic cancer research in November and then donated an item to the Isaiah 117 House with every purchase made, totaling 1,000 items.
“I really think in those down times when the businesses are going to struggle it’s really important to help come out and support your local businesses because those are the ones that keep the community going and give back,” said Wilt.