Many local retailers in Spokane say they experienced a boost over the holidays from shoppers eager to buy and search for presents in-person.
Retail sales from Nov. 1 through Christmas Eve in the United States rose by 8.5% from the same period a year earlier, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks retail spending from all payment types. In Spokane, many local businesses reported a similar boost in sales this holiday season. A big reason for this uptick, many owners said, comes from the Spokane community’s commitment to supporting local businesses.
“I feel like Spokane is very mindful and supportive of small businesses and people really make a point to stop at all the shops,” said Jenny Cashion, owner of Chic and Shab, an upscale antique and vintage furniture and decor store on North Monroe Street.
For Cashion she sold more holiday decor than expected. She said this year her business is up 40% over last year.
Indaba Coffee experienced a steep increase in business in 2021 compared to 2020. Bobby Enslow, the founder and owner of Indaba said at the downtown location on Riverside Avenue, which took the hardest hit in 2020, there was a 212% increase in business during the last week of November, a 162% increase two weeks before Christmas and a 146% increase the week before Christmas.
Indaba’s best-selling product is whole bean coffee. They sell bags at different grocery stores around Spokane and at the From Here store in the River Park Square. Enslow said he saw significant increases in sales at From Here and at Huckleberries on the South Hill. At From Here they would typically sell six to 12 bags a day and over the holidays they had a day where the store sold 100 bags of coffee.
“We were scrambling trying to figure out how to replenish them and we were able to on Christmas Eve,” Enslow said. “It’s encouraging to see that people are clearly getting out and trying to support local businesses in Spokane and locally made goods.”
The From Here store is run by Terrain, which supports 110 local artists by selling their products in store. This year the store saw more foot traffic than ever before and people came in with the intention of buying rather than just looking, said Katrina Brown, the retail program manager of Terrain.
Larry O’Neal, a sales associate at From Here, added that events like Christmas Tree Elegance and the Terrain BrrrZAAR helped people find the store when they normally would have missed it.
Genesis Veronon, owner of Beauchamp and Chase, sells his soaps in the store and at various other stores around the city. He said this year he beat his previous record of sales in one day. During his four-hour shift at From Here he sold 31 bars, which is over $300 worth of soap.
“Seventy percent of what you purchase goes to the artist and a lot of them depend on their December income for the year,” Brown said. “So it’s really nice to see.”
There were also different events throughout the season that allowed many small businesses to participate in one big event, like the BrrrZAAR, which is put on by Terrain. For Jillisa Winkler, co-owner of Blissful Balms and Bath, it was the biggest sale day of the season for them.
She said sales were up significantly compared to 2019, which was the last time the event happened.
Cashion participated in the Resale Trail this year. This is an event put on by many businesses throughout Spokane that come together to create a raffle shoppers enter by visiting all the participating stores. She said by supporting other businesses she receives more customers into her store too.
No-Li Brewhouse did a 25 Days of Christmas event where they spotlighted 25 different nonprofits and donated $1,000 to each. John Bryant, the owner of No-Li, said his business has thrived because of the support he has received and given to other local businesses in town.
“That’s what we’re seeking at No-Li is a little bit more peace, solace and grace and also having a very clear direction that we have to be contributors in the community to help get us all through together,” Bryant said. “It’s a proactive thing there is no passive participation. I think that’s important that we can all give in our own way.”
No matter how big or small the community support and business-to-business support in Spokane has helped local businesses thrive this holiday season. Spokane business owners said it was refreshing seeing shoppers in person and supporting local stores.
“The thing I love about the small business community in Spokane, we push each other, and it only benefits all of us if I recommend the stores down the street and they recommend us and I recommend them,” Cashion said. “It only benefits us when we help promote each other.”