Sales steady for retailers during Thanksgiving weekend
December 5, 2014
For some retailers in town, the shopping days after Thanksgiving represent one of the highest volume weekends of the year. For others, it’s simply a chance to make sure their stores are ready for the traffic the winter season will bring. But for all, the weekend is important.
Though stores throughout Park City and Snyderville saw different levels of traffic, many reported the weekend was as good or better than it typically is. One such retailer was Laura Coleman, owner of Safonova, a clothing store at 1675 Redstone Drive.
She said customers flocked to her store from all over and made it the best Thanksgiving weekend the store has had in recent memory.
"The whole weekend was great," she said. "I saw people from local areas, like Provo and Ogden and the small towns around. I’d never met those people, they had never been in my shop before. So locals came in and it was fantastic. I can’t complain."
A strong Thanksgiving weekend was important news for Coleman, who said the battle small businesses face against large online retailers such as Amazon.com is difficult to win this time of year. Last year, in particular, online stores took a chunk out of her sales, but this year shoppers seemed to be making an effort to buy local.
"Last year, I think everyone got hurt by the sales online," she said, adding that she offered small promotions. "Amazon killed a lot of small businesses. This year, it seems like the online sales were a little bit slower. The weekend was good, and people came out to actually support small businesses.
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"It’s important. It feels important when people even acknowledge you, when people come through the door and say they’d rather support me than Amazon or a business online. People came this weekend, and I was so thankful."
Many businesses throughout town were participating in Small Business Saturday, a nationwide initiative American Express started in 2010 to encourage people to patronize businesses in their communities. While Coleman participated in the event — in which customers got a $10 credit when making purchases with their American Express cards — she said turnout for it was somewhat underwhelming. Though Saturday was an overall success, she experienced the majority of the weekend’s volume on Friday.
"I was hoping for a little bit more," she said.
Ryan Smith, owner of Bahnhof Sport, a ski equipment retailer at 693 Main Street, didn’t see a similar increase in sales over the weekend, but said they were in line with previous years.
"It was up slightly, but it wasn’t crazy," he said. "Nothing out of the ordinary."
Despite the average turnout, the weekend was still important for Smith because it allowed him to prepare for the rest of the winter. Sales typically start picking up for him toward the middle of December and don’t stop until the end of the ski season.
"It’s always important to do as much business as we can over that weekend, of course," Smith said, adding that he also participated in Small Business Saturday but had a light turnout of people taking advantage of the American Express deal. "It’s mostly just kind of a dry run, seeing how ready we are, how the inventory is checking in. But it’s not that significant to us as far as dollar volume."
Likewise, Eric LaPerle, manager of White Pine Touring, at 1790 Bonanza Drive, said how the store does during Thanksgiving weekend does not make or break his company. This year, sales were about average.
For White Pine Touring, though, Thanksgiving weekend sales are closely related to how much snow is in the mountains.
"If there’s snow, it’s great and very important," he said, adding that sales will likely start to pick up for the winter during the upcoming week. "If there’s not, then there’s just not that many people around."
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