January and February. Two words that strike fear into the hearts of retailers across the country. Especially in northern states such as our own, where heating and lighting bills go up just as sales go down, the after-Christmas sales slump can hit small retailers hard.
But in Holly, retailers have found ways to keep customers engaged.
Cathy Bateman of My Sweet Holly, a reconditioned antique and collectable furniture store, reaches out to the online community at these times. “I list more items online,” she says. “When I’m busier in the store, it isn’t always necessary to do that. I sold a lot off the floor at Christmastime. But when things slow down in here, I reach out to the serious collectors who are looking for finds year-round.” For her local shoppers she puts some items on sale and also works hard to ensure her merchandise is something they can’t find at other stores. “There’s always a reason to come in, because there’s always something new, something one of a kind,” says Bateman.
Autumn Anderson of Holly Mill & Company takes a different approach. She hosts seminars and events that give customers reasons to come into the store beyond shopping. Taking advantage of customers’ inclinations to make resolutions for the new year, Anderson says, “I host 4-week goal-setting classes that usually get people in here. One in January, and one in February. Our next one starts February 10.” In addition to that, Anderson says, “Then we host psychic fairs, vision board workshops, and have pampering nights and various classes and book clubs that interest people.”
Although reducing hours slightly to reduce costs, the Holly Candle Shoppe continues to be open six days a week, Tuesday through Sunday throughout the winter months. Probably the most beautiful and well-planned retail space in Holly, the candle shop offers one of our community’s most satisfying shopping experiences year-round. Every month the shop features a signature scent, January’s scent being “Resolution.” A true destination store, the Holly Candle Shoppe enjoys the distinction of being one of those retail spaces that attracts people “just to see it.”
January and February are tough months for retailers nearly everywhere outside of tourist destinations. But here in Holly, a few smart retailers are doing their best to keep the retail home fires burning.