Holiday shopping season slow for some, offers hope for others
Published 1:47 pm Wednesday, December 27, 2023
BROOKHAVEN —Retail stores are in a frenzy from Black Friday to Christmas to serve customers but by Wednesday things had slowed down as employees recovered from the holiday shopping rush. Reports from different businesses in Brookhaven varied.
Some stores found the holiday season slower than previous years while others found hope in the last part of 2023. Judy II Shoes at 208 US51 S in Brookhaven had a slow holiday season.
Linda Magee said it was slower than last Christmas but she had heard other stores around Brookhaven experienced the same thing.
“We appreciate the sales we had,” Magee said. “I think the economy was tough. Groceries are up and people weren’t buying as much. Everything was up. We had a pretty good year last year. Lots of traffic last year but this year we didn’t have the traffic we normally have. Easter and Christmas are our busiest times of the year. We always hope it will be busier for Easter.”
Lindsey Ezell at Wand Seed Store said the holiday season was a boost for spirits after a terrible summer. She said the head slowed customers down as they didn’t get out in their gardens as much.
Lincoln County and Southwest Mississippi suffered drought conditions from July to late November impacting local gardeners, cattlemen, farmers and hunters.
“Deer season was terrible for everyone in terms of getting food plots planted and growing. Some had to replant. It is usually pretty steady in the fall. Between the clothes and everything else it went pretty good this holiday season though,” Ezell said. “It was steady and people seemed to be in better spirits. They seem to be in better spirits now.”
While the drought impacted seed sales in the fall it might have boosted some of the feed sales. Hay production was a fraction of a normal year due to the drought. Cattlemen had to turn to supplemental feeding of cattle.
Ezell said she experienced the effects of the drought with her cattle. She started feeding the cattle in July which is several months earlier than normal due to the drought.
“The hay shortage this year was terrible. It is affecting everyone, even me,” Ezell said. “It is tough. I feel for all of them that are having to supplementally feed and are trying to find hay.”
Springtime should boost sales again at Wand Seed Store. Ezell said typically January is slow but February will add a boost to sales.
“People will start to get ready for gardens and chickens come back around again,” Ezell said. “We appreciate everyone’s business.”
Lavena McEwen, owner of Vintage Style Coffee at 128 West Monticello Street was thrilled with the holiday season turnout. She said November was one of their slower months but the Christmas Parade and start of December seemed to flip a switch.
Customers have been steadily stopping by to grab a drink, snacks and hangout in the seating area. Vintage Style’s prayer wall is filled with prayer requests right now and a white Christmas tree bears tags signed by people from all over the world. McEwen pointed to the tree and prayer requests as signs of a busy month.
“It has been wonderful. People from all over the world have come in here and the support has been amazing,” McEwen said. “The love and support not just from the local community but all over the world has been amazing. We ask people to sign a gift tag and hang it on our tree saying where they are from. It has been great. We enjoyed it.”
McEwen said they will not take the tree down until after January. Some of their best selling drinks are holiday themed. Peppermint Swirl was a huge hit as was a coffee-free option Mistletoe. One of the baristas said the drink tastes like strawberries with vanilla and has a Christmasy top. Frosted Cranberry, a refresher, was another huge hit for them. Vintage Style is also selling a Dark Roast ground coffee called The Bishop. Its flavor profile is mocha, caramel and hazelnut.
Down the street from Vintage Style, Hall and Company reported sales were on par with 2022. Owner Matt Hall said he appreciates the new and regular customers for shopping locally. While sales were strong in the holiday season they were not enough to even out a slower second and third quarter of his fiscal year, Hall said.
“I believe customers are having to take into account the cost of groceries and materials used to produce everything is going up and yet income is not on the same increase to match it,” Hall said. “At Hall and Company we focus on our customer relationships and customer services because it is what keeps customers loyal in town rather than online retailers that aren’t pumping any tax base into our local communities.”
Are you a local business owner? Share how the holiday season went for your business by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.