Colorado Springs Retailers Ready for a Strong Holiday Shopping Season | Subscriber content
Buyers are ready, and so are retailers.
Consumers will spend an average of nearly $ 1,000 during this year’s holiday shopping season on gifts and other items for themselves and family members – about the same as last year, though. that’s down about $ 50 from the pre-pandemic peak in 2019, the National Retail Federation said. in a recent estimate.
But whatever the spending of consumers, some Colorado Springs retailers are confident they’ll see some of that action as the shopping season begins in earnest with this week’s Thanksgiving holiday, followed by Black Friday, Small Business. Saturday and Cyber ââMonday.
Their optimism is based on strong sales this year, which retailers say will continue through the holidays. This is despite lingering concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic and lingering supply chain issues for some stores in the Springs area.
â2021 has been a good year,â said Dick Frieg, who, along with his wife Mary, owns the Savory Spice Shop at 110 N. Tejon St. in downtown Colorado Springs. The store, which Frieg said was the first franchise store in the Denver-based chain of 30 stores, sells more than 400 fresh species and artisanal seasonings, as well as some food items.
âPeople are back to shop, tourists are back in town,â said Frieg. “Hopefully the last six weeks of the year will be on par with the kind of increase we’ve seen so far since the start of the year.”
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Frieg said its gross sales in 2021 were up 20% from the same time in the pre-pandemic year of 2019. If this trend continues into the last six weeks of the year, that is about a third of its annual sales, it would be delighted.
And he feels good about his chances.
Its downtown store is located in the heart of the commercial corridor on Rue Tejon. It is frequented by visitors to Colorado Springs, and state and local tourism authorities have reported that the industry has rebounded this year from 2020, although it is still catching up to its 2019 performance.
âWe’re lucky to be downtown and it’s in the foot traffic lane of tourists checking out Colorado Springs,â said Frieg. Many of those tourists are more inclined to wander downtown than frequent outlying malls, he predicted.
At the same time, Frieg said he was encouraged because he had seen more younger shoppers in his store – a possible one, whose tenants like to walk or cycle to shops, restaurants. and local cafes.
Carrie Hibbard Baker of clothing and lifestyle boutique Terra Verde, 208 N. Tejon, said she and co-owner Leah Fitzgerald Riehl also had a solid year and expected it to continue for another year. the holiday season.
Since the start of the year, store sales, revenues and profits have increased by 40% from 2020, and sales are a little higher – she did not have an exact figure – than in 2019. , said Baker.
She credits the community’s continued support to small business owners for Terra Verde’s strong sales.
âWhen the pandemic started, that’s what people did in the community. They were afraid their favorite strong businesses would go bankrupt and I think the word there was ‘support small businesses’,â he said. she declared. “I think it continues.”
At The Citadel Mall, northwest of Academy Boulevard and Platte Avenue, Dave Steele’s 20-year-old Memory Lane store sells coffee mugs, posters, tin signs and other items on the theme of nostalgia with the effigy of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and John Wayne. It also has a convenience store section with snacks and other items that appeal to customers and mall employees.
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Steele has already seen a 5% to 7% increase in sales for the year compared to 2019, and he expects that trend to continue through the holiday season.
âPeople have money,â Steele said, referring to government stimulus checks that have fueled spending by many consumers. “The billions of dollars the government has given everyone, people seem to have more money to spend because of it.”
In Old Colorado on the west side of Springs, owner Tami Glascock said her boutique and gift shop Jen’s Place has enjoyed strong summer sales, which she hopes to extend through the holidays.
His store’s location in the heart of Old Colorado – several blocks from restaurants, candy stores, art galleries, and specialty retailers along Colorado Avenue and side streets – is easy to find. She also said she has a loyal base of loyal customers and social media followers.
âI think we’ll be fine,â she said of the holiday season. “I have people who come with family members and grandchildren, making lists based on what’s in the store.”
Glascock and other mom-and-pop retailers surveyed said they had no difficulty finding employees; her store, named after her daughter, is family owned.
Frieg, of Savory Spice, said he typically adds employees during the holidays and has recruited four part-time employees this year to support his core of six to seven regulars.
Terra Verde, meanwhile, has the staff it needs, Baker said; Steele, from Memory Lane, only has one employee with him.
But while staffing has not been an issue, some retailers have encountered issues getting their merchandise on time.
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At Jen’s Place, for example, Glascock said some spring and summer orders – including womenswear, baby and toddler items, and even solar lights – are only now arriving at a time when it also receives winter goods.
There could be local customers heading to warmer areas for a vacation that would welcome spring and summer clothing, she said.
âBut it’s not something I usually have on my regular rack,â she said. “Right now that would have ended up being allowed.”
As a result, she doesn’t have enough floor space for most non-seasonal cargo, Glascock said. She was forced to find areas on site to store the items while renting a storage unit for larger cargo.
It also looked for new domestic suppliers so that its merchandise could be airlifted or driven instead of depending on being shipped from overseas, Glascock said.
Mountain Man Nut & Fruit Co. owner Bob Lantzy, whose franchise store has a storefront in Old Colorado City, said the chain’s corporate headquarters in Parker had struggled to get chocolate products to be trucked to. ‘a California company owned by Mountain Man, he said.
âThe problem was logistically getting the product from Fresno to Colorado,â Lantzy said.
At Savory Spice, Frieg said he was unable to get some items he was importing from Europe, such as ingots, demi-glace and salts from Italy and France.
For the 400 spices and herbs that are his signature items, however, he’s “in good shape” as the holidays approach, he said.
The past year has been more of a supply chain headache for his store due to plastic and glass shortages, Frieg said.
His employees hand fill spices into bags and bottles inside his shop for freshness; the items are not in a warehouse awaiting dispatch.
But for months in 2020, there was a lack of containers as bottles were reused for hand sanitizer or plastics were used for face masks, said Frieg.
âWe suffered for a few months without glass all over the store,â he said. “Now I’ve had enough and we’ve put together the holiday gift boxes and we’re ready to fill more.”
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Baker from Terra Verde said that she and Riehl bought merchandise for their store before becoming owners in January 2020. This experience resulted in them buying items early, she said.
As a result, they placed orders for holiday and winter items in January and February of this year and are in stock and ready to go.
âWe always buy a season ahead,â said Baker.
Buying early is a lesson customers should also take, say retailers.
âWe already have people coming in,â said Glascock, of Jen’s Place. âThey (the buyers) could start now. We’re getting our stuff out. It’s a bit slower during the week right now; it’s probably better for people to come during the week as it gets extremely busy on the weekends. end when everyone is on leave. “
Baker, of Terra Verde, echoed that sentiment.
âIf you are concerned about the crowds, now is the time to come shopping,â she said.
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In addition to buying early, customers should also consider posting early. Lantzy, of Mountain Man Nut & Fruit, said it’s a good idea to ship by December 10 and not wait until December 15, which was the deadline recommended by the U.S. Postal Service in the past.
Frieg said he would ship Savory Spice products to customers; the service is free for purchases of $ 60 or more.
But don’t wait, he said.
âI will ship it any time of the year you want, but I will certainly never be able to promise by Christmas,â he said. “Definitely, if it was me, I would ship it the first week of December.”