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Retailers wrap up good holiday weekend

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Lisa Dunlap Photo Melissa Gilcrease, left, and Lisa Janssen, retired insurance agents, say the recent holiday shopping weekend was their best since opening Sisters' Shed on South Sunset Avenue in early September.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

If the Black Friday and Small Business Saturday experiences of some local retailers tell the story, this year’s holiday shopping season should be a good one.

Store owners and managers said sales were strong and customers seemed eager to shop and ready to spend for the upcoming holiday season.

“Those were the best days that we have had since we opened,” said Lisa Janssen about the Friday and Saturday that are traditionally thought of as ushering in Christmas and winter holiday shopping.

Janssen and her sister, Melissa Gilcrease, run Sisters’ Shed on South Sunset Avenue, which sells collectibles and gifts and provides space for vendors to sell antique items such as furniture, vintage wedding dresses and glassware.

The sisters, former insurance agents, opened their business in September on Labor Day.

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“We had a beautiful Friday. Saturday was good, too,” said Janssen, who added that she is optimistic about sales for the remainder of the season.

The good shopper turnout and sales reported by a sampling of local retailers interviewed are in line with the data for national retail outcomes from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday.

According to the National Retail Federation, adult shoppers participating in its national survey reported 104.9 million shoppers for those five days, up from 92.3 million in 2020. Online shoppers decreased to 127.8 million from 145.4 million in 2020.

The national group also indicated that Black Friday continues as the most popular shopping day of the weekend, with 66.5 million shoppers. About 51 million people shopped on Small Business Saturday.

The trend in recent years nationally is for people to begin their holiday shopping earlier, before Thanksgiving, but the days after Thanksgiving remain popular among U.S. consumers.

Most local retailers also found that the Friday after Thanksgiving drew the bigger in-person crowds.

“Black Friday went very well,” said Heather Perez, a manager of Rugged Trade on South Main and West Walnut streets. “We had a lot of traffic going in and out.”

Shop Small Saturday was “kind of slow,” Perez said.

Rugged Trade, part of a New Mexico chain that opened in Roswell in October 2020, sells workwear, outdoor wear and accessories. It couldn’t open to in-person shopping last year due to the pandemic restrictions, so this is the first year the store was open in Roswell for the holiday shopping weekend.

Perez, like most of the other retailers, said she had plans for sales throughout the remainder of the holiday, with the store open until Dec. 23.

Terry Lindberg of Hippie Chicks, a boutique at South Main and Deming streets that primarily sells women’s and girls’ apparel and accessories, said she was relieved to experience a good weekend after a difficult time last year. State regulations starting in April 2020 required many small businesses to close to in-person shopping in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus, including for the Thanksgiving shopping weekend.

“Those two days were amazing. I wasn’t disappointed at all,” she said about this past weekend. “People were out and spending money. It wasn’t anything like five years ago or two years ago, but it was still good.”

In business for 18 years, one of the ways that Lindberg coped with the struggles of the pandemic was to turn part of her retail space over to another business, CS Designs.

That store, which opened four months ago, is owned by Cheyenne Sons, a graphic designer, and it sells personalized engraved gifts.

She also said that the weekend brought in a lot of customers.

“It was great. We had lot of returning customers and a lot of people who said they had heard about us and wanted to check us out,” Sons said.

The business is able to engrave wood, glass and leather and able to create full-color designs on some white surfaces.

“I love to hear people’s stories and have them tell me what they want and then put that into something that they care about,” she said.

While the “constant in and out” of customers over the weekend was good to see, she said she also appreciated that people were able to experience shopping inside stores again for the holidays.

“I think the people enjoyed getting out and shopping for their loved ones. I really do,” Sons said. “I think that gives people a sense of relaxation and peace to get out and do these things.”

The National Retail Federation indicated in its survey that retailers have adapted to the effects of the pandemic on stores, and that seemed to be the case with the local retailers.

They said they have learned to expect shipping or stocking delays on some items and will supplement their merchandise with locally made or U.S. made products if needed. They also have learned to use social media pages, websites, e-commerce sites, special customer invites and other means to attract customers.

Jessica Burson, owner The Brave Co. clothing and accessory boutique on West Fourth Street, said her store was also busy both Friday and Saturday and that it offered extended hours to accommodate customers.

For 2020, local promotional efforts were extremely strong to push the holiday weekend to counter store closures, she said, but this year saw comparable sales.

“The numbers (of customers) were down a bit, but the sales were the same,” she said. “I am really hopeful that we will have a good rest of the year.”

She said she appreciates the support Roswell customers and business groups provide locally owned stores.

“I have colleagues who have boutiques in other places and some of their towns are not as supportive,” she said, “so Roswell is very good to us.”

Lindberg, who learned to cope with the repercussions of the pandemic as other retailers did, said she appreciated that this holiday brings customers back to the physical store.

“It was so much more personable,” she said, “and that is what makes my business, Hippie Chicks — my people.”

Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.