Local businesses benefit from holidays

Published 9:00 am Sunday, December 4, 2016

Local business leaders are optimistic that this year’s local holiday shopping season will be successful.

Plymouth Shoes owner Linda Knudsen said Small Business Saturday outperformed 2015 results. 

“We’ve been busy since then,” she said.

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People enjoy the one-on-one service provided at stores such as Plymouth Shoes, Knudsen said, adding that she noticed sales have increased substantially since last year.

Knudsen credited increased Small Business Saturday sales to television advertising and through small business mats, pens and fliers in commemoration of the day.

“A lot of people waited until Saturday because they wanted to promote that, the small businesses,” she said.

Knudsen said she has noticed increases in foot traffic, calls and downtown traffic.

“That’s a good thing,” she said. “That just means we are really full.”

Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Randy Kehr said he was pleased with how holiday shopping is going.

“We’re off to a good start for the holiday season, particularly with our local small businesses,” he said. “We all know that there are things that you have to acquire in other places, but the emphasis on shopping local is really a focus of ours every December, but really, it is year long.”

Kehr said he has noticed a shift in Albert Lea’s economy.

“They look for local businesses that they can spend money with,” he said.

Kehr expects positive consumer attitudes to shape a successful Christmas shopping season.

“I think they are ready to celebrate the joys that we have in our community, and that usually involves buying gifts for people that you love,” he said.

Kehr said shopping at small businesses has its advantages.

“If you have something that you are looking for — and they don’t have it — they usually know where to find it,” he said. “Our local store operators have access to acquiring the things that you need.”

Revenue gained from shopping at small businesses is turned over in the community, Kehr said.

“We turn to all of these businesses for donations all year long for youth sports,” among other things, he said. “And we should pay them back.”

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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