In Vermont’s capital city, holiday sales for small businesses were a mixed bag. It’s been steady for some and slow for others.
“November it’s been going down and it seems to be 9 to 10 percent lower this year in both months than it has been in the past,” says Cindra Conison, owner of The Quirky Pet.
Store owners speculate it could be a post-election lag or maybe it’s the weather that has business down.
“I don’t know if it’s the weather, but people aren’t out on the street, and last year typically the day after Christmas is booming too because people are in town,” says Conison.
It’s a similar scene just across the street at Woodbury Mountain Toys.
“The sales have actually been increasing up until this year unfortunately,” says Karen Williams, Owner of Woodbury Mountain Toys.
Williams says November and December are usually her busiest months. She has her own theory about why it’s been a sluggish holiday season.
“I was kind of hoping sales would be up for the holidays season, but unfortunately I think a lot of people are depending on the internet to do their shopping because it’s more convenient.”
But some small business have been more stable.
“Our old customers have found us in our new location and we’ve gained lots of new customers as well,” says Clinical Aromatherapist and AroMed Aromatherapy owner, Lauren Andrews.
She says there’s one soothing aromatherapy spray, called Transcend, which has been giving their store a holiday boost.
Whatever the store, customers appeared to have had specific items on their wish list this season.
“People are coming in, and it seems like the smaller items are selling as opposed to bigger items,” says Conison.
But local businesses remain optimistic. They say nothing beats in-person customer service.
“They know the games, they understand what kids like, and they are able to help my customers out with picking the right thing for the right person,” says Karen Williams of Woodbury Mountain Toys.
Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility says for each dollar you spend at local stores, 45 cents returns to the local economy.