Retailers here reporting good Christmas shopping season

Published 9:31 am Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The frantic rush of shopping throughout the holiday season is felt for the smallest to biggest of locations.

Locally, stores in downtown Vicksburg are reporting a good year for sales in the River City.

“Everybody I spoke to was very pleased with their year. We were very busy downtown,” Vicksburg Main Street director Kim Hopkins said. “I would say overall the Christmas season was very good this year.”

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She said the merchants have been given forms to fill out evaluating their season, and she’ll know a little more once she gets the information back next week. So far she has only heard positive feedback from downtown merchants.

“It went great,” Norma Massey of Frederick’s Children’s Boutique said. “It was a great holiday season. I think we did really, really well. It’s probably one of my best years.”

The season started with a bang in downtown just after Thanksgiving with Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and the 20th Annual Downtown Vicksburg Old Fashioned Open House on successive days. Massey said she thought shoppers got off to an early start, especially with the massive post-Thanksgiving shopping weekend, because she didn’t get the last minute Christmas Eve rush she typically sees even though she still had a good crowd.

“We’ve been busy all month,” she said. “I think a lot of people got a head start.”

In addition to shopping early, Massey noticed this year customers took advantage of the free gift-wrapping she offers to save her customers some time.

“I think people really enjoyed the free gift wrap,” she said. “We gift wrapped way more gifts than we have in the past.”

A big factor in holiday sales were the out of town shoppers, namely guests from the riverboats that stopped in downtown. Hopkins said several boats came in throughout the month. Many tourists made sure to pick up trinkets for friends and family.

“A lot of the travelers would come up and buy presents for different occasions,” Massey said.

Many downtown shops opened on Sundays throughout the month of December adding to their sales numbers.

“Right at Thanksgiving I start opening seven days a week,” Mary Landers of Levee Street Marketplace said.

Landers said she had a great year, and she thinks she saw an increase in traffic and sales.

“It’s always great,” she said. “Every year always gets better. Each year it gets better.”

Many storeowners donated gifts for a downtown drawing customers put their name in the hat for throughout the month and one lucky winner received. Rouge Boutique and Salon, The Valley, Peterson’s and Levee Street Marketplace all won a display window-decorating contest held by the Main Street Program.

“They received plaques from us for winning and decorating their windows. I think downtown was really pretty this year with the lights and the colors,” Hopkins said.

Now merchants are looking ahead of winter sales. “We’ve had a blessed and wonderful 2016, and We’re looking forward to next year,” Massey said.