Local retailers staying staffed for the holiday shopping season


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — For many, the holidays are considered the most wonderful time of the year but for those who work in retail, it’s easily the busiest time of the year.

Just days ahead of the biggest weekend when to comes to holiday shopping, local business owners are preparing for an influx of customers shopping in person.

With the vaccine now a reality, it has made a return to normalcy possible, which means people will once again engage in the traditions of Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

“It’s going to be a better Black Friday, a lot of people don’t think so but I think it is. People have been cooped up, they want to get out and they’re going to come to Johnson City and they’re going to shop,” said Dan Mahoney, president of Mahoney’s Outfitters.

With a big weekend of shopping, there are concerns about holiday staffing, especially as the nation continues to see a steady trend in unemployment numbers.

Hiring seasonal workers is nothing new to the retail industry but this year, it’s needed more than ever.

“We bring in about three to four new people for the holidays. College kids, family members, we find anyone we can, really,” said BoomTown and Co. owner Shane Evans.

Evans said they’re currently operating three locations: downtown Johnson City, downtown Kingsport, and a kiosk in The Mall at Johnson City. He said he anticipates a busy holiday season, but he’s ready for it.

BoomTown isn’t the only business in search of some seasonal assistance. Just down the road in downtown Johnson City, Azlinn Hope Collections is also hiring for a part-time sales associate

“We’re starting to need more help and that means our business is growing and that’s because of the community we have in Johnson City,” said owner Azlinn Edwards.

Edwards said they’ll be all hands on deck this holiday weekend, bringing in all six of their existing staff members. She said she can’t wait for people to take advantage of their great deals on Spanx and an additional 20% off on anything black in the store.

Edwards said Saturday is the day they look forward to the most.

“We have done so well with having everyone in downtown shop with us and support us and Small Business Saturday will actually be one of our biggest selling days of the year,” Edwards said.

While there can always be more staff during the holidays, most local shops told News Channel 11 they’re ready for the influx of customers.

“We’re prepared, we’ve got enough staff to go around and we’ve got some good staff,” said Mahoney.

“We are actually fully staffed here. I am extremely blessed and thankful to have amazing girls who work here and are ready to go and help with Black Friday weekend,” said Pretty as a Peach Boutique Area Manager Katie Wilt.

Wilt said this holiday you can get great gifts at their shop while also giving back. She said along with having deals for Black Friday, a portion of their sales will be going towards pancreatic cancer research.

While Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season, retail staff will be working overtime likely through December.

“It doesn’t really slow down until Christmas Eve,” Wilt said. “We see an increase in sales, an increase in hours right up until Christmas Eve and then Christmas Eve we still have a few of those last-minute shoppers.”

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