The holidays are an important time of year for any business, and for some it can even be make or break.
Local small businesses in particular rely on this season as their businesses and livelihoods may be at risk. Businesses told WJET that small-scale shopping is an investment in the local economy, especially at times of the year when they rely most on income.
Despite facing inflation, worker shortages and supply chain issues, small businesses in Erie County are helping stay afloat as holiday shoppers hit their doors.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports that 80 percent of small businesses say the holiday season will be more important to their financial health in 2022 than it was last year.
The holidays are seen as a time of growth, with store traffic encouraging, according to local businesses.
“I think this has been the best year I’ve had in the store. Locally, people have come out and it’s been amazing. I’ve been busy even on snowy days,” says Vickie Allen Shea, owner of Allen Stoneware.
Achilles Running Shop footwear expert Courtney Sargent said their holiday success was inextricably tied to a popular New Year’s resolution: fitness.
“We’re in a hurry for Thanksgiving. Between Christmas and Thanksgiving, we got Lots of gift cards, and then get busy with Christmas and New Year’s resolutions,” Sargent said. “A lot of new gym memberships and new people just want to get in shape and take care of their bodies, so it’s a good time of year.” “
A Lollie and Company manager also said that November and December are the months they look forward to the most, so they prepare by introducing a ton of new merchandise to give customers something new to see.
A study conducted by Reuters found that holiday shopping can account for as much as 40 percent of some small businesses’ annual sales. A small business owner said that Yili has invested heavily in small businesses this year.
“Small Business Saturday is traditionally very good. It’s like a show, a craft show, but it goes on until the end. So I think Erie is really trying to support small businesses,” Allen added.
Local businesses say they are recovering from the peak season and are looking to clear the last of their holiday inventory with clearance sales.