09
Jan
09

The Paper : My Store

The paper today drew a really bleak picture based on the retail report that came out yesterday.  I really do not want to dispute it, but having had the best Christmas shopping season EVER, I feel like I want to describe a little what was different for us small stores down here.

‘Bad weather came to the Northwest at exactly the wrong time for retailers because it kept people from making last-minute Christmas shopping trips.’

Yes, we had a snow storm and the city came to an aprupt halt.  Before the snow storm hit, it was actually pretty cold and I decided to ride my bike rather than get in the car and slide all around.  When I fell off the bike, I got into the car, only to find out that I cannot get into my garage because of all the snow that had piled up in front of it.  For one week of winter, I am NOT getting studs or mount chains.  I probably would have spent an entire day at the tire store anyway just to GET chains.

So I decided to walk.  In the middle of the road, because it was easier than on the sidewalk in two feet of snow.

“Our customers couldn’t get in; half the time, our employees couldn’t,” said Eddi Miglavs, the owner of Mudpudddles Toys & Books in Sherwood. “We would have been up for the year if it weren’t for the snowstorm at that crucial time.”

Well, it is just me.  And I live 1.5 miles away from my store.  I was open every day of the storm for all my posted hours.  I have seen more people walking than ever. The malls couldn’t plow their parking lots, half their stores were either closed or had limited opening times.  I really believe that big box stores can probably take a hit like this but us small businesses can’t.  I we have to lay ourselves off, we have to close the store.  If we cut our hours,  less people have a chance to shop.  I have seen many more of those ‘last-minute  Christmas shoppers’ than the year before.  More people showed up saying that they lived right around the corner and did not even know we were here.  This snow storm proved to be a blessing:  it was free advertising.  I take a snow storm any time.  Just hold the rain.

I must admit that bigger ticket items did not sell as well as last year.  Shoppers definitivley cut back on their spending.  For gifts or themselves.

It sure helped that I had a lot of socks and mittens.

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