By Benjamin Gohs
This week area shoppers will be shown a plethora of deals and incentives designed to make them shop local instead of choosing a big box store.
Predictions for the shopping season are positive, as most people are showing a more optimistic shopping attitude, although most local store owners agree that the national predictions are unreliable at best when it comes to Northern Michigan.
“To me the national retail outlook is unreliable because it doesn’t show what is happening at the Boyne City Store level,” said Larry Lenhart, Boyne City Radio Shack Owner.
Leslie Nielsen, owner of balanced living and inspired living of Boyne City said she also does not pay attention to predictions in the general marketplace.
“My business has grown steadily over the past six years because I don’t buy into it that we’re into a recession,” she said.
According to the Wilkes University Holiday Retail Sales Forecast for 2013, the National Retail Federation expects holiday retail sales to increase by 3.9 percent.
The average holiday shopper spent $423 over Thanksgiving weekend in 2012 but, contrary to popular belief, Black Friday is not the busiest shopping day of the holiday season.
According to the sales forecast, Thanksgiving weekend accounts for less than 10 percent of holiday sales.
The weekend just before Christmas is the real busy time, with nearly 30 percent of all holiday sales occurring then.
Boyne City is celebrating its Holiday Open Houses the same day as Black Friday, and stores that participate will be open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., with many offering refreshments or hor d’oeuvres for shoppers to snack on.
“Friday night we will be having Origami Owl Jewelry. It’s where you get a locket and buy charms and then you tell your story with these charms,” said Cindi Malin, owner of CindiFranco’s Cool Stuff. “We will also be doing champagne and a chocolate buffet.”
Huff Pharmacy will also be offering discounts on items at the Boyne City Holiday Open House.
“I think that people will always go to the box stores for discounted items during the morning, but that business is getting better,” said Bob Huff, owner of Huff Pharmacy. “We’ll always be around during the holidays.”
The day after the Holiday Open House is Small Business Saturday, originally founded on Nov. 30, 2010 by American Express.
“For Small Business Saturday we will be donating 5% of all sales to a Boyne City Charity. We donated to the United Way a couple of Saturdays ago, and it was pretty successful,” said Jon Bautel, owner of Boyne’s Beyond Borders.
Dunagain’s Antiques and Collectibles will also be offering discounted items, with varying sales by vendor inside the store.
“I expect to see 10% off all the items in the store, but we have 11 different vendors here so it’s really hard for me to keep track of what the individual vendors are doing,” said Michael Sehr, owner of Dunagain’s Antiques and Collectibles.
“I think that American Express is doing a great promotional thing helping support local business,” said Nielsen “I am utilizing all of the tools that they have given me.”
Owners are optimistic about the name Small Business Saturday, but have mixed feelings about the results.
“I think that Small Business Saturday has helped because it has helped make awareness of the small business; it helps to bring support to small business owners—they are the backbone of the United States business,” said Karen Guznicak, Owner of Country Now and Then/Up the Lazy River. “Small businesses help to contribute to the community; they are always involved with local schools and other organizations.”
Sehr said he hopes the Small Business Saturday marketing catches on.
“It seems like we are having more of an emphasis on Small business Saturday this year,” said Sehr.
Lenhart isn’t so optimistic about the promotion.
“I don’t think that business is better,” he said. “I think that people are going to shop where they want to shop, when they want to shop.”