Small retailers reap benefits of holiday shopping rush - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Small retailers reap benefits of holiday shopping rush

December 17, 2004

Pelham- Downtown Pelham may not be a major shopping district.

But tucked into the bottom of the Hand Trading Post is Unique Gifts. Elizabeth Harper has been working here long enough to know why shoppers keep coming back.

"Cause the gifts are so different here and it's not like seeing the same thing over and over," she said from behind the gift-wrapping counter.

That's how it has to be in today's retail world. And owner Bo Godwin knows it.

"So we try to buy things that Wal-Mart don't handle," Godwin said.

This store sets out to have gifts for every holiday.

"You name it, we have it."

But that doesn't mean they don't count on the spending of Tis the Season shoppers.

"Starting somewhere around September, October, starting from then to the end of the year is when most retailers make their money."

That goes for small retailers too. They just have to find their special niche. The specialty wrapping, free with a purchase, is part of that.

"If you don't have several niches in your business, then you cannot compete against places like Wal-Marts and Targets," Godwin said.

To compete with major retailers, not only does your merchandise have to be different, like wind chimes for your favorite tractor company, put you also have to be willing to pass on discounts to your customers. Sometimes that means discounting Christmas decor before the day actually passes, a rarity at major retailers.

"A lot of our gifts here, you can't find at other places like that," Harper said.

That's what makes Unique Gifts exactly that.

posted at 10:24 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com