This holiday season, many local small businesses have reported having had a successful holiday and have the support of the community. The community, several business owners said, seems to understand the importance of buying locally.
Mandi Fugate Sheffel, owner of Read Spotted Newt, said the store has another year of support and a good number of buyers. The support shown, she said, is vital for the continued functioning of small businesses in the region.
“We have had a really stable and successful holiday season. With the resurgence of downtown Hazard, I see a community commitment to buy local. Buying local is essential for future growth, ”said Sheffel. “I also hope it will reassure buyers that their money stays in the community. I am extremely grateful to everyone who made the choice to shop local. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Hazard, ”she said.
One company, Queen City Records, had its first vacation season. The support, said Mary Jo Everage, Co-Owner and Commercial Director of Queen City Records, has been incredible.
“Our first Christmas was overwhelming, but it was amazing. We’ve had a really good number of people buying both records and gift certificates, ”Everage said. “It was a steady pace until Thursday, then it hit suddenly. Last minute shopping and it was very busy but I enjoyed it so much. I was very tired at the end of the day but it was worth it.
“Buying local not only helps local businesses because they’re not part of these big chains – we’re actually working to survive,” Everage said.
Carolyn Davis, owner of Appalachian Quilt and Craft, also said she had a successful holiday. Support, she said, was not just coming from the community, but from other companies as well.
“We love that many customers have chosen to buy locally and here with us. We value our customers and the entire local business community. We all help each other and that’s the only way we’ll all be successful, ”said Davis. “We have had great sales and we love every local customer and every customer who does their shopping on their way home for the holidays.
The company, Davis said, was able to sell a variety of products.
“Many of our customers were able to make Christmas gifts for their family and friends. Some of those who had just learned to sew this year made quilts before Christmas, ”said Davis. “In addition to fabrics and sewing supplies, we were able to sell locally handmade crochet dolls and animals, paintings and a variety of unique artwork in our new gift shop called Confluence. The creative crowd here is amazing and we are so grateful to the clients, local artists and the beginner sewing community, ”said Davis.
Other business owners, such as Sherry Spradlin, owner and operator of Mother Goose Inn and Gift Shop, and Emily Whitaker, owner of Windy Hills Coffee and Yarn Oasis, have said they have had decent vacation periods, but that they had not been so successful. like the previous times.
“We did well, but not as well as the previous two years. Business seemed to be slower than before, ”Spradlin said. Local shopping, she says, is very important to the community.
“Small local businesses are the backbone of our community. If you look at the programs, the signs on the baseball fields, etc., it’s the small businesses that help sponsor and support these events. Small business owners live in the community and are your neighbors and friends that you see on a daily basis. A small business owner will always be there to give you personal attention to help you find the gift or item you need, ”said Spradlin. “Thank you to everyone who supported small businesses over the holiday season and please keep buying local,” she said.
Whitaker agreed, saying she also saw fewer sales than expected, but working with other companies has helped businesses.
“Our overall customer base has grown because we have combined stores and organized events. Sales were down for me and my partners, ”Whitaker said. “The best part of this season has been the way the local stores have referred customers to other local businesses. Several times the client would tell how he found us. I loved it.
“While no small local business can offer the selection of the biggest stores, we all strive to anticipate what might be unique and fill a need. We’ve cut back a lot of items, but we’re still seeing customers willing to buy gas for less at distant stores, ”Whitaker said. “Local store owners find it difficult to get you into stores with limited hours or inconvenient parking. Thanks to everyone who tried to buy locally. Many have mentioned this intention when shopping with us. Some knew that some of us wouldn’t be here next year without their support.