Local Businesses Surpass National Holiday Sales - WBAY

Local Businesses Surpass National Holiday Sales


In Northeast Wisconsin, a winter snowstorm may have set back local shopping briefly, but area businesses say they're bouncing back and bucking the national trend.

Not mother nature's mood swings nor the fiscal cliff's progressive looming have stopped festive bargain shoppers from buying local.

Nationally, holiday spending increases hit recession lows, but several local businesses say they've hit an all-time high.

"We are having record breaking sales actually," exclaims "D" Muenster owner of Furs of Distinction in downtown Green Bay.

"It's very very exciting, we'll know better in the next couple of days, but we look like we'll finish out 12 percent over last year!"

Sr. V.P. of Camera Corner Connecting Point Dave Pisani says their sales have increased 7.5% this holiday season over last with a week left before the new year.

"We're also looking forward to people coming in with their camera corner gift cards and generic gift cards and spending some more money with us."

A drastic difference from the national average of just .7% and a number crucial to their overall success.

From November to January retailers typically make up about 30% of their annual sales for others its more like 50% so when holiday sales are weak it can put them in a very tight spot financially.

"In the end of the year we really do rely on those last couple of weeks with a huge increase in profits," says Rachel Sowinski owner of The Gift Itself on Broadway.

Which makes the national dip in retail sales concerning but the Broadway district in downtown Green Bay has noticed a more empowering trend emerge.

"I think you see kind of a trending going on in retailing where you have online sales really increasing and local sales increasing," says Chris Naumann, Executive Director of the On Broadway District.

Green Bay retailers are definitely noticing and doing what they can to make the most of it.

"It's our first Christmas as a Verizon dealership so that certainly helped." says Pisani.

Muenster adds, "It's the holiday season and maybe their budgets aren't as big as they were 5 or 8 years ago but they are still out there buying something and I truly believe not only price, I think they're looking for value."

Fortunately the trend of buying local seems to be catching on at a crucial time for small businesses who depend on holiday sales to survive.

"I think that people also in Green Bay are recognizing that we are price competitive with the big box retailers but offer a superior customer experience," says Pisani.

The storm before Christmas did keep people at home for a day or two but now that the snow is gone businesses are hoping that the customers will come and continue spending their money where they live.

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