Small Businesses Thrive Over Holidays


As the 2018 holiday shopping season wraps up… It was a busy one for both online and retail shoppers, according to Mastercard. First News at Nine’s Zach Prelutsky visited some local businesses to see how the holiday season treated them.

For Kelly Castady it has been a busy November and December at Willow Boutique.

“The last two months have been great, our holiday shopping season really starts around the beginning of November and goes through Christmas Eve.”

And like many businesses in downtown La Crosse it was a successful one. “This year was fantastic, transactions were up, revenue was up.”

Despite a record breaking year for online and big box retail store sales, for small, local businesses there was also a jump this holiday season.

“I’ve talked with a lot of store owners and many of them have had some of their best seasons they’ve had in years and I think some of that comes from the fact that there’s a real renaissance going on in downtown La Crosse right now. Not only do we have over 100 new businesses that have moved into downtown over the last five years but we have a lot of people now living downtown.”

Amazon says they sold more items this season than ever before, and according to Mastercard more than 850 billion dollars were spent over the holidays in the U.S. But for small business owners, they say their success lies in the ability to offer unique items.

“People who shop here are looking for something special. They’re looking for something handmade or they want to buy a really great jacket for their wife or sister or their best friend. They like that it came from a local business and I think especially in the younger demographic supporting local businesses is having a major moment.”

Although the holiday shopping season is over for 2018 Castady says business will remain steady as we head into 2019 thanks to gift cards, gift exchanges, and lots of sales.

In La Crosse, Zach Prelutsky First News at Nine.

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