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Locals shopping local for the holidays

Posted: December 30, 2012 - 1:10am

Holidays are great for making folks feel good. And local folks shopping for feel-good gifts have made local retailers very happy indeed.

Across the nation retailers and shoppers have embraced the holiday shopping season for years. Retailers have stretched the season to encompass most of the fall months and introduced pop culture names for the busiest shopping days — black Friday, small business Saturday, cyber Monday. Retailers have started opening stores Thanksgiving evening to get a jump on Black Friday sales. Shoppers devour special holiday sales.

Online shopping continues to grow as brick and mortar stores hold steady. Holiday shopping went well for at least some of Juneau’s brick and mortar store owners.

“We were quite happy and appreciative of all the local support we received during November and December,” Michael Tripp co-owner of the gift shop Trove. Trove is open year around for its second year.

Located on South Franklin Street, remote from other stores with winter hours, Tripp said he and his partners were worried that shoppers would forget about Trove during the winter.

“Concerns that did not prove true in the least,” Tripp said. “The season improved significantly over our first year in 2011.”

Tripp chalks this season’s success to strong holiday marketing in print, radio and email “combined with excellent word-of-mouth.” He also gave kudos to the maintenance workers who kept sidewalks clear of snow from the Red Dog Saloon to the parking lot at People’s Wharf.

“I am sure that the other merchants along this route would share our appreciation,” Tripp said.

Trove is open through the winter Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Larry Smith and Alisa Higgins co-own Tasty Treat Frozen Yogurt Topping in the Foodland mall. This is the third year of operation for the frozen yogurt shop.

Higgins said her holiday season was buoyed by gift card sales.

“I’ve sold almost a hundred since mid Oct. to Christmas Eve.”

Cold weather slows local appetites for frozen foods, Higgins said. Though business dips starting in Oct. Higgins said her

“It slowly starts picking up in mid February,” Higgins said. In March “it shoots right up.”

Higgins said she shuts the shop down for the month of January. Sales are slow and it gives the owners a chance to travel Outside, she said.

Higgins said she is very happy with the success of her shop in Juneau.

“We’re … getting ready to sign another three-year lease in June,” Higgins said.

Christina Ibias owns The Closet consignment clothing store in the Foodland Mall. She said holiday shopping helps with sales through the winter, but “I would stay open anyway.”

Unlike many retail stores, The Closet isn’t bolstered much by holiday gift sales.

“There are not a lot of people who buy used things for people for gifts,” Ibias said. However, people do shop for holiday outfits for themselves. Ibias said.

“A lot of people are looking for New Years Eve wear right now,” Ibias said. “Right before Christmas we had a lot of people coming in for ‘ugly’ Christmas sweaters.”

The Closet is open Mon. through Sat. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

According to comScore.com, U.S. Online spending increased 13 percent from 2011 to 2012 during the core weeks of holiday spending and 16 percent to date. Online sales jumped 32 percent on Thanksgiving day alone. Black Friday sales online totaled over $600 million and the following Cyber Monday saw sales that topped $1.4 billion. Online sales during the 2012 holiday season totaled nearly $40 billion through Dec 23.

Physical stores across the nation saw a 1.8 percent drop in Black Friday sales from 2011 to 2012. However, total sales for brick and mortar stores still totaled more than an order of magnitude greater than online sales at $11.2 billion on Black Friday, according to shoppertrak.com.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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