Will the start of the holiday season mean good tidings for local businesses? Most people seem to think so.
In Pembroke, Havey’s Manager Art Holmes said sales are up.
"Our sales have increased about 10 percent over last year. A lot of people aren’t traveling. They are staying local to buy what they need, and we expect sales to increase even more with the holiday season approaching," he said. "It’s going real well, even better than I expected. We did real well yesterday too. Business has been steady and flowing, and people aren’t only buying one or two things but buggy loads of groceries."
Mikela Critzer, the manager of Alco in Pembroke, said sales at the store are down compared to this time last year.
"We are feeling a significant impact on sales. Sales are down significantly since last year, but we are competing against grand opening figures, so I’m not sure if can be attributed entirely to the economy. I think the holiday season is going to help because we are beginning to notice an upturn in sales, and our lay-away program is helping," Critzer said. "Thanksgiving Day shopping was good. A lot was put on lay-away, and Black Friday has been very steady with people buying outright."
At the Dollar General in Pembroke, Manager Anna Mitchell said the economy means people aren’t splurging, but sales have improved.
"We are not noticing an impact from the economy other than the fact that people are buying less splurge items and sticking to the essentials," she said. "I guess it’s because of location. People don’t want to put the gas in their car to go further away to shop, so they are staying local. Our sales are good and up over last year."Dollar General employee Harriet Peth said "Black Friday" - the day after Thanksgiving - was a good day for the store.
"Sales today are doing fine and we’ve been busy. You would think people were going to Wal-mart and Savannah first thing this morning, but they are still stopping here too."
In Richmond Hill, local businesses were expecting good things as well. Joanne Sasser, owner of the Cadre Shop, said Friday that her shop usually does good after Thanksgiving.
"We got some overflow from Savannah from folks who shopped there early and hit us on their way back," Sasser said. "We expect to do well this weekend. Not so much because of the time of year, but because we just put a bunch of our popular Vera Bradley on sale because the company just retired it. We didn’t expect that to happen until after Christmas, so that should give us a nice boost."
Carol Batastini’s women’s apparel store Stella Rose was closed on ‘Black Friday,’ but she plans a sidewalk sale today.
"Hopefully the economy dilemma will work somewhat to our advantage," Batastini said. "Since people aren’t buying cars and other large items this year, hopefully they’ll spend it on clothes and items like that."
Ella’s gift shop on Hwy. 144 saw some big business the day after Thanksgiving, according to shop owner Dana Lewis.
"We’ve been pretty steady lately, but traffic in here today (Friday) has been crazy – which is great," Lewis said.