Retailers survive holiday season

Despite predictions, local business owners report successful holiday sales


Daily Press writer
Some local business owners report they got a healthy boost to their bottom line during the Christmas season this year. Preliminary estimates show that revenues for some stores are up nearly 30 percent over last year's holiday season.
Prophecies that sales would be poor because of the national terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, and the resulting economic downturn, didn't come to pass.
"Compared to all the doom and gloom predicted on the news, we did pretty well," said Nadine Daszkiewicz, owner of the Kitchen Shop.
Craig's largest retail store, Kmart, reported that its holiday sales were up 10 percent over last year.
"We've had fairly decent sales for the last three weeks. I think people recovered from Sept. 11 fairly well," Kmart manager Derek Zuver said. "They shook it off, came out and spent."
According to Zuver, Kmart's revenue went up approximately 10 percent.
Business owners believe that many customers stayed in Craig to do their holiday shopping this year, and that contributed to the gift-buying increase.
"It didn't seem that people left town at all. We did very well this year," Zuver said. "We saw an increase over last year."
Included in that increase was business from out-of-town customers.
"I seemed to see more people from Steamboat Springs coming over and I think locals are beginning to realize there are some good things here in town," said Sheila Brennise, owner of Sweetwater Trading Co.
Retailers are reporting that their biggest shopping day was Saturday, two days before Christmas.
"We had a lot of last-minute shoppers. A lot," Zuver said.
Saturday's sales for Kmart were even with those of last year, but more sales on other days made for the revenue increase.
This season's hot items were small appliances, George Foreman grills and learning toys, such as Leap Pads.
Sales of Harry Potter paraphernalia were poor, Zuver said, until the prices were reduced.
Downtown businesses also reported better-than-average sales.
"We did awesome," Brennise said. "I couldn't have asked for a better season. We had a lot of foot traffic."
Brennise said her sales were up 30 percent from last year.
The holiday atmosphere of downtown contributed to businesses success, Brennise said. A volunteer Santa Claus roamed Yampa Avenue during the week before Christmas, popping in and out of stores and handing out candy canes to the children.
"It really gets the spirit moving," Brennise said. "It's fun and provides a better atmosphere than what you'd get in a big city mall."
And the sales aren't over for Brennise. She said a lot of people are taking advantage of post-holiday sales to already do some pre-Christmas shopping in preparation for next year.
"People are already coming in to do after Christmas shopping," she said.
Good holiday sales benefit businesses in more ways than one. Zuver said that good sales make it easier for stores to change their seasonal displays.
Brennise attributes the good season to having a fully-stocked store and a good advertising campaign.
"If you stock your store and have good sales, people will come," she said. "If you expect success, it will come."

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