SALES SUCCESS: Weather pushes to ‘buy local’, downtown Frederick businesses see holiday season a success | Coronavirus

More than one local business owner in downtown Frederick described his brain as “fried” on Sunday afternoon as the frenzied holiday shopping season drew to a close.

But despite their exhaustion, a wave of customers between Thanksgiving and Christmas was also celebrated by many – some even reporting record sales and earnings.

Nationally, holiday sales have grown faster than they have in 17 years, The Associated Press reported on Sunday. This trend has taken place even as the highly contagious new omicron variant of the coronavirus has swept across the country and supply chain disruptions have kept some items off the shelves and pushed up the prices of others.

In Frederick, business owners said they had time to thank for their holiday sales boon; there hasn’t been a major snowstorm this season yet, nor have there been many days deadened by sleet or heavy rain. Sunday afternoon saw highs of 58 degrees Fahrenheit – unusually hot for December.

But more importantly, they said, residents of the town and surrounding areas appear to have prioritized local shopping.

“It really feels like this is the year small retail was rediscovered,” said Paul Thompson, owner of East Patrick Street gift shop, Ec’clectibles.

Sales at the store – which offers a wide selection of jewelry, ornaments and other items – have been “exceptional” this month and last year, Thompson said on Sunday. Depending on how this week unfolds, he added, they could even break an all-time record.

Thompson’s store was not immune to the supply chain issues that plagued big-box chain stores. But unlike those kinds of retailers, he said, Ec’clectibles was able to pivot and find new, unique pieces to add to their inventory.

During the boutique’s 19th holiday season in downtown Frederick, Thompson said many of his repeat customers have stopped by, some for the first time in two years. He also saw many residents from outside – which he attributed to what the city has done to attract visitors.

“Word is rumored that Frederick is the place to spend a day,” he said, referring specifically to the Carroll Creek Maritime Light Show and the town’s many breweries and distilleries.

Outside The Kitchenette on North Market Street, a message written on a small chalkboard greeted customers: “Shop here or we’ll both starve!” “

Marién and Tom Hornyak – the husband-and-wife team that owns the kitchen supply store – don’t have to worry: the company has seen record sales and revenue this holiday season, Marién said on Sunday. They sold some 600 cookie cutters between Thanksgiving and Christmas and their entire supply of microplane zesters.

The kitchenette was also affected by supply chain disruptions; On Sunday, Marién and her husband were still waiting for a textile order that they placed on October 23. Despite this, they have seen an influx of customers, which Marién says is in part due to the increased interest in cooking sparked by the pandemic.

Although Marién and Tom have been doing business in Frederick for about five years, this marked the first holiday shopping season for newcomers to the town Augusta Rose and Chappelle Candle Co. Staff at both boutiques – located a minute’s walk away walk apart on East Patrick Street – said it was a hit.

Amira Chappelle, owner of the hand-poured candle store, which opened in October, said customers stopped to buy gifts for Christmas games like Yankee Swap and White Elephant, as well as freebies more personalized. One person she met told her that she ended up keeping two of the candles she originally bought as gifts for someone else.

Meanwhile, during Christmas Eve week, Augusta Rose sold twice her typical weekly sales, store manager Lane Bielski said. The clothing and home decor store – which opened over the summer – will be offering discounts until January to browse what’s left of its holiday inventory.

Dancing Bear Toys and Gifts later saw more sales this holiday season – and the rest of 2021, in general – than in 21 years in business, said Tom England, who owns the shop with his wife, Marlene. England. It even surpassed 2019, the store’s best previous year ever.

Earlier this year, England had a hunch that the pandemic would affect its ability to replenish store inventory and stock up ‘like you wouldn’t believe’. It didn’t take long for him to feel grateful that he had acted on his “very lucky prediction” – in September he had heard from vendors talking about how they had been affected by the chain disruption. ‘supply.

His inventory got him through the holiday shopping season, but his store’s 2,000 square foot storage space was empty on Sunday, he said. All that was left in stock was on the floor.

Curious Iguana, the bookstore Marlene and Tom run on the corner of Dancing Bear, also had record sales this holiday season. That’s a big thank you to the excellent store staff, said Marlene – she and her husband employ passionate readers who give great recommendations.

And of course, said Marlene and Tom, a big thank you to the people of Frederick, who shopped locally this holiday season.

“On behalf of all of our staff, thank you very much for the support,” said Tom.

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