ROCHESTER, Mich. (WXYZ) — This holiday shopping season appears to have been a big bounce back for local retail.
Despite inflation, supply chain issues, staffing shortages and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, local businesses saw a big boom in sales with many families opting to shop in person.
It’s the final home stretch of 2021 and experts and economists are already predicting a record holiday shopping season for local businesses.
If you step inside any small business on Rochester’s Main Street, you’ll quickly learn those predictions may be right.
“Oh yeah, we’re up over 50% for sure — 50, 60 percent,” Talulah Belle owner Amy Fonville said.
Talulah Belle, a local boutique, has been in downtown Rochester for 14 years, and this year may be their best yet.
“This season has been amazing and it was actually pretty scary because no one knew what was going to happen this year,” Fonville said.
The increase of in-person shopping has been a pleasant surprise for local retailers, including mi State of Mind.
The Michigan-made store in downtown Rochester is also enjoying one of their best holiday seasons ever.
“It just makes you proud to be a part of this community and franky, proud to be a Michigander,” Maureen Brown, a sales associate at mi State of Mind, said.
According to the National Retail Federation, retail is on pace to grow over 10% this year, which would set a record for growth and overall spending.
The small business bounce back could be attributed to fears over shipping issues or as a way for families to get out of the house. But it could also be a concentrated effort from neighbors supporting their own.
“Every year, I try and shop local and I think the money we spend on Main Street is going to benefit us in the end,” Shopper Dave Papandrea said.
No matter the reason, this holiday season has been a much-needed gift for small business owners who very soon will start planning for next holiday season all over again.
“When you put in all that work and people notice it, it makes you feel really good, it makes you feel that what you’re doing is worth it,” Fonville said.
The holiday shopping season goes through Dec. 31, so it’s still to be seen what exactly the final numbers are. Those numbers are expected to come out in mid-January.