With the holiday shopping season officially in full swing, local small businesses are seeing encouraging signs that business may be on the upswing.
Merchants in Glendora’s downtown Village Center are seeing a 5 percent increase in sales over last year’s holiday season. The numbers are projecting an upward trajectory, with sales up 10 percent over the year before last year.
“This is really encouraging news,” said Business Improvement District Board Member Gayle Swinehart, owner of in the downtown district. “It certainly is better than moving in the other direction.”
Swinehart said stores within the Village Center have had to adjust their inventories as the economy took a turn for the worse several years ago.
“We are still carrying high end products, but we’re seeing more affordable inventory in our stores,” said Swinehart. “People are looking for bargains.”
But the businesses reaping the biggest benefits are the restaurants, said Swinehart.
“They have been doing really well this season,” said Swinehart. “It would be nice to see one or two more of them in the Village.”
A record number of visitors poured into the Village Center during this year’s , the annual kickoff to the city’s shopping season.
Manager Jonathan Lambert said the event was the busiest Holiday Stroll they ever had, with customers packed into the downtown coffee shop all throughout the evening.
But businesses still have some ground to cover, as sales have yet to reach the numbers of five years ago.
Although small businesses have created 65 percent of net new jobs across the nation over the past two decades, small businesses have been the hardest hit during the recession. Fewer banks are lending to small business owners, and fewer businesses are hiring new employees.
As shoppers made the mad dash for Black Friday savings at big box retail stores Friday, a nationwide initiative is pushing to make Saturday the day to remember the mom and pop stores.
Sandwiched between and Cyber Monday, the second annual Small Business Saturday – falling this year on Nov. 26 – pledges to boost the economy and preserve main street businesses across the country. American Express OPEN and more than a dozen advocacy, public and private organizations launched the movement last year.
“Small business is the engine of job creation in the US economy,” said Kenneth I. Chenault, chairman and chief executive officer of American Express. “…By spreading the word about Small Business Saturday, we can help raise awareness about the critical role small businesses play in cities and towns across the country at a time when they need support the most.”