Local retailers say they’ve been given a great shopping season for the holidays.
“This year has been a good year,” said Julie Logan, the owner of Greenbrier Nursery & Gifts in Evans, whose holiday sales were up by 15 percent this year.
The shop sells Christmas trees, ornaments, wreaths, centerpieces and gift items and also decorates customers’ homes, and the demand for decorating services was good as well.
“The Christmas tree sales were up. People really seem to be decorating this year. We even did more outside decorating,” Logan said. “I just got the feeling early on that everybody was ready for Christmas.”
Holiday traffic remained steady through the final days before Christmas at Art on Broad in downtown Augusta, according to owner Jim Tar.
“It was pretty much the standard run, nothing surprised us,” he said. “There was just more of it.”
Tar said national awareness campaigns such as Small Business Saturday after Thanksgiving have made supporting local businesses more popular.
Nationally, sales from November through the week before Christmas were 2.5 percent higher than last year, according to research firm ShopperTrak. The National Retail Federation inched up its forecast for holiday sales from 2.8 percent higher than last year’s numbers to 3.8 percent higher.
At Woody’s Spirits at 5121 Washington Road in Evans, customers have been coming in numbers to buy alcoholic beverages for holiday parties and gifts. Holiday sales are up 15 percent to 20 percent from last year, said owner Glenn Laidig. Because it’s the holidays, people have been spending more for higher quality products rather than making their usual, less expensive purchases.
Laidig also attributed the growth to new residential subdivisions and stores opening nearby, drawing new customers.
At Top Shelf Cigar & Tobacco Shoppe at 4150 Washington Road in Evans, owner Russell Wilder said that holiday sales were up, but he expected a late surge.
“But I’m not done yet by a long stretch, because I sell primarily to people who are buying for dad or husband,” Wilder said. “I’ve learned over the seven years I’ve been at this, we’re the last one that gets bought for.
“I’ll do as much as 60 percent of my Christmas sales the last five days before Christmas.”