Local merchants enjoy boom in holiday business
Published 5:47 pm Tuesday, January 3, 2017
By CAROLYN IAMON
Each year The Post Searchlight surveys local merchants to get a read on how the Christmas holiday sales went—how the year compared to past years, and what the best selling items were. While national news spoke of the impact made on retail sales by people doing on-line shopping, Christmas 2016 appears to have been a really good year for most Bainbridge merchants.
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Christmas 2016 was another winning year for Reeve’s Linens and Gifts. Owner Tom Reeves said, “We had a good season. It wasn’t up or down, but steady.” While his wife Gloria claimed, “It was great!” She reported their best selling items as: Brighton products—jewelry and leather goods, monogrammed rain jackets, Ginger Snap interchangeable jewelry and Clutch Power, a cell phone holder complete with charger. They also reported home décor items were bigger sellers than usual. An after-Christmas sale is on-going, with 50 % off on all Christmas items and a select few other products.
Belk manager Threasa Hall said she is optimistic that sales reports at the local Belk store will exceed those of last year. She credits some of that success to the big demand for boots, which were very popular this Christmas season. Other big sellers were the various lines of fragrances offered, sweaters and light-weight clothing. Belk also did very well with sales in home items, especially small electric kitchen items.
Randee Eubanks, owner of Bella’s Boutique, reported her sales were about the same as last year. She said she has heard more people were doing on-line buying this year, but all in all, she is happy with her Christmas season sales. “We had good traffic,” she said, with the best selling items as jewelry, women’s clothing, T-shirts and a new item being carried this year—shoes. Bella’s will begin an after-Christmas sale next week.
Ronnie Godwin of Godwin’s Jewelers said, “It was a good season, but hard to say if it was better than last year. Last year was a record for us.” Godwin opened a second store in Thomasville around Thanksgiving, and that may have affected Bainbridge sales. Godwin did note that the Christmas rush came later this year, possibly due to Christmas Eve being on Saturday.
Flint River Outfitters owner Edwin McCullers is very happy about the sales at his business, adding, “Actually, we have had substantial increases each month since we opened in 2015.” He did see a slight decrease in gun sales this season, except for sporting guns, which were still doing well. All gift items, clothing and jewelry sales were “way up.” Asked if he saw any effect from on-line sales, he replied, ‘No, not at all. They may deliver with drones, but they don’t gift wrap.” Next week should see sales starting on apparel items and some shoes.