Holidays boost small business sales - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Holidays boost small business sales

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Is the economy finally turning around for small businesses?  It may be too early to say for sure, but some Albany businesses tell us they saw a solid upswing in sales over the holidays... and they hope that trend will continue into 2011.

Like everyone else, The Royal Collection saw a decline in business over the past few years, but this Christmas holiday, things were better, people spent money here, but the way they spent that money trended differently. 

Instead of buying trends, customers were more conservative with their money, and that was true at other stores as well.

Terri Stumpe prides herself with providing her customers with high quality, high fashion.  But she isn't too proud to admit that the past few years have been difficult, especially after so many businesses shut down.

Stumpe said, "Everybody was affected by the loss of that many jobs and I don't care what anybody else says, it really has been hard trying to rebound."

But during the Christmas shopping rush, she did get a bit of a boost.  Sales were up, although the way people shopped was different.

"They're being a little bit more particular about what they're buying and a little on the more conservative side about knowing they'll be able to wear it again," said Stumpe.

That's a trend Katrina Baranko at Merle Norman says she's seeing too.  If people can't use it, they won't buy it.  She said, "I think people are still willing to shop and spend money, but again, I just think they are processing the way they are spending a little bit differently and they are being a little more conservative in what they're buying."

But they're buying and for a small business, that's what counts.  Baranko said, "We are always optimistic, hoping for a better week and a better year, so I go into it with good expectations, but you never know so I was very pleased that it came out like it did."

And both business owners have high hopes for the year ahead.  Stumpe said, "I'm an optimist so all I can hope for is better business."  And be thankful for the loyal customer base she already has.

 Both stores say they're also trying to boost business by catering directly to what their customer base wants.  That way the items they carry won't go unsold.

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