By Mickey Gorman
In a national economy that is slow to rebound from recession, Lexington merchants are hoping for more than just the sound of reindeer hooves on the roof this holiday season.
Many Lexington retailers think that they might just get their wish. Peebles store manager Mike Stein is optimistic about the upcoming holiday season.
“Holidays are usually the busiest time for all retailers – definitely for us,” Stein said.
Looking to take advantage of Black Friday excitement, Peebles will open on Thanksgiving night from 8 p.m. to midnight for the first time ever. The store will open its doors again at 6 a.m. the following morning.
“We’re going into the fourth quarter excited,” Stein said. “We’re coming off a very strong second and third quarter, so we believe that [customers are] definitely going to be spending money this holiday season.”
Peebles just has to hope that children in Lexington are on the Good List.
The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that retail sales dropped 0.3 percent in October after three months of gains. But excluding autos, gas and building materials, sales fell only 0.1 percent. Some of the decreases are the result of Superstorm Sandy’s devastation. Until the hurricane struck the Northeast Oct. 29, consumers were feeling optimistic.
Thomson Reuters reported that consumer sentiment in October reached its highest level in five years and jumped almost 5.5 percent from September.
Emily Glick, a stylist at Encore Salon, reflects that sentiment about the holiday season. The salon cuts hair for both men and women but caters more to the female crowd. Glick estimates an increase of at least 30 percent in business around Thanksgiving and Christmas. This does not include the salon’s manicure and pedicure business, which, Glick says, foresees a large boost as well. However, the largest boost in sales does not come from immediate services.
“Oh everyone comes in to get gift certificates,” she said. “It’s not just the husbands looking for gifts for their wives. We have women getting quick gifts for their friends as well.”
Glick says gift certificate sales increase at least 50 percent during November and December.
Tina Miller, owner of Ladles and Linens, is also optimistic about her store’s upcoming holiday sales. The kitchen and gift store traditionally sees a large boost during the holiday season. Miller, who has operated her store for 15 years, says community support is vital to her store’s success.
“People need to understand how connected each store is to the local economy, and that if we don’t support the community, Lexington will be worse off,” Miller said.
Carolyn Tolley, owner of University Florist, also relies heavily on the community.
She has already booked deals with Washington and Lee and Virginia Military Institute to decorate various buildings on their campuses.
Tolley has been hit hard by the slow economy, although she says sales are slightly up this year.
Information also gathered by Sarah Stiefvater, Zackary Richards, Kirsten Kyne and the Associated Press