Fauquier shopkeepers see an early holiday season
Sunday, Dec. 9
Marlene Hahn checks out at Terry and Lee Owsley's Latitudes - Fair Trade store on Main Street in Old Town Warrenton on Saturday. -- Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
All of the 11 local small business owners surveyed by the Times-Democrat expect an upswing in business during the holiday season. Overall, owners said they are optimistic about the revenue they think they’ll receive.
“We all look to boost our sales during the holiday,” said Robin Converse, owner of Robins Nest Antiques and Collectibles of Marshall.
The amount of sales made in the holiday season varies.
Crest Hill Antiques & Tea Room in The Plains transacts 20 to 30 percent of annual sales during this time, according to owner Sally DeLuca.
The holiday season brings a quarter of Joan of Art’s annual income, said owner Regina Hilleary of the Marshall framing business.
David Hartman of Hartman Jewelers in Warrenton said they take in 22 percent.
However, the hair salon, Basement Cuts in Marshall, sees a small increase during the season, said owner Laure Carter.
Six owners in this nonscientific research said they are seeing an increase in business.
“There is a turnaround in people’s willingness to spend money,” said Kelly Ann Richardson, owner of Kelly Ann’s Quilting. A steady flow of customers came into the 8-year -old Warrenton store Wednesday afternoon.
Starting last January, Richardson watched her sales grow every month. And, sales figures for the first two months of this quarter are higher than the same period last year.
Richardson attributes the upswing to improvement in the national economy.
“Small towns are the barometer for the economy,” said Richardson. “What drives a small town is independent business owners.”
“I think people are making a point of shopping locally,” said Annette Johnson, owner of Town Duck of Warrenton, which offers wine, specialty foods, fine china and kitchen items, scarves and jewelry.
While “Black Friday” went well in terms of sales, the following Saturday, “Small Business Saturday,” was “phenomenal,” she said. Overall, November sales were up from sales last November.
Lori Andes, owner of The Farmer’s Wife in Remington, has had a small increase in business over last year.
“It wasn’t great,” Andes said, “but at least it was in the right direction.” She sold more than 100 pies and 300 dozen rolls over Thanksgiving.
Both Hilleary and Linda Neel, owner of Live An Artful Life in The Plains, said they observe shoppers visiting their stores earlier. Neel says she’s seeing a volume of customer traffic through her store that she usually doesn’t experience until two weeks before Christmas.
Two more weeks of shopping time remain for sales before Christmas.
While Ronda Cheatham, massage therapist and owner of A Touch of Grace in Remington, said that business dropped off after Thanksgiving, she remembers selling 10 gift certificates last Christmas Eve. People wait until the last minute, she said.