Holiday shopping can make or break locally owned businesses

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C.(WNCN) – The streets of downtown Raleigh were fairly empty the day after Christmas and the signs of the holidays will soon fade.

But, the impact of the days and weeks before can make or break a locally owned business.

Christine Brenner owns Read With Me Children’s Books on Hargett Street.

It’s her third Christmas as a retailer and an important one.

“I think we also had our best Christmas sales-wise also which will really help us start the new year fresh and hopefully bring in some great new programs this year,” Brenner told CBS17.  

She agrees that survival depends on holiday sales and says social media is key as so many people shop online.  

“I think as a retailer you need to be constantly changing and watching those trends. For us Instagram and Facebook have been huge tools to kind of not necessarily compete with what’s online but just join the conversation and add our own authentic voice to it,” said Brenner.

Just up the street is House of Swank.

“We’ve had a steady flow of people coming in and out,” said Judd Burnett as he was busy printing new t-shirts.

The store known for it’s North Carolina inspired shirts and other quirky fair.

They have also had a big few weeks.  

“We get a lot of return customers that always have in their head they already know what they want when they come in the door and they can go right to it. Our Funkle shirt does really well. We sell quite a few of those. People enjoy that especially around Christmas time because people can give it relatives and everything.” said Burnett.

Success largely comes down to what physically being in a store can offer that’s better than not being in one.  

“Hopefully we can offer them a unique experience that they can’t get you know shopping for books online,” said Brenner.

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