Shoppers seek out Main Street after holidays
December 27, 2011
After-Christmas sales are in full force throughout the country, hoping to draw in shoppers. Between the 50 to 75 percent discounts and the day off work, predictions are more than optimistic for big-box stores and national chains. But national predictions have little to do with Main Street in Park City, said executive director of the Main Street Business Alliance Alison Butz.
"With it being Main Street, our trending is different," Butz said. "We’re not a mall.
This holiday season just kicks off our entire busy season. I wouldn’t say the national trend correlates to what we have here."
All day Monday, crowds filtered up and down Main Street popping into stores and grabbing a bite to eat.
Melissa Crotty of Root’d on Main Street is about to take her store through its first winter season and said she’s ready for the pick-up in business.
"The day after Christmas was pretty good for us," Crotty said. "There were lots of out-of-towners and a lot of looking around."
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"It’s a day off so I wanted to get out of the house," said Salt Lake City resident Terry Morgan. "Main Street is always been so charming, way better than a crowded parking lot."
National predictions call for more than double of last year’s turnout in the week following Christmas. ShopperTrak, a retail research firm, predicted a 60 percent jump on Dec. 26 in foot traffic in stores. In a recent American Express survey, 36 percent said they will be buying gifts for themselves, an ongoing trend retailers have been experiencing for several years.
But that’s national. What about a resort town just getting into the season? What about Main Street?
"This time is very important for Main Street," said Kathy Higginson, owner of Shirt Off My Back, "and that’s more because people are thinking about spending money. They walk in with the idea that they are shopping and needing to buy gifts."
The people Higginson means are the thousands of out-of-towners in for a vacation week at a nearby resort, the tourism that keeps businesses fed eight months of the year.
Higginson said Main Street businesses may not be competing to have the best deal in town like other areas might do, but that doesn’t mean customers are looking elsewhere.
"We don’t necessarily put things on sale because we’ve got four months really to do our business," she said. "We can’t afford to put things half off. But we’re still competitive. We’ve been doing this for 30 years."
"Main Street is made up of independent stores, not national retailers who deeply discount," Butz said. "I’m sure retailers have sales, but it’s the busy season. We’re just starting, not slowing down like other places."
Even though there aren’t as many sales, Butz said this time of year is important in getting retailers up to speed.
"For the merchants, it really kicks off the season," she said. "It’s the first big travel weekend for people coming out of town."