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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – With the holiday season in full swing, local business owners hope their stores aren’t forgotten in the hustle and bustle as they look to bounce back from the challenges of 2020.

It’s a welcomed sight, community members gathering outside the windows of Harrison Brothers Hardware in downtown Huntsville to gaze at the annual holiday model train display.

“We have a lot of people coming out, more so than last year, definitely. And they’re happy. They’re excited to be out,” said store manager Cheryl Sexton.

That excitement is also being felt at the cash register.

“From our months last year compared to the months this year the sales have doubled, maybe some of them have even tripled,” Sexton said.

But the pandemic has left its mark, the lingering side effects of a backed-up supply chain have rippled from Southern California ports all the way to the southeast, impacting artists and artisans, like the more than 30 vendors who work with Harrison Brothers.

“We have candle companies here in Huntsville that are struggling trying to get jars. So, it’s been difficult getting the materials,” Sexton explained.

She says it’s more important than ever to support local businesses.

“It’s critical. We’ve seen what it does and we’ve seen what the virus did to us. So, it’s just so important. They’re keeping their dollars in Huntsville, in the local businesses,” she stated.

Officials with the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce said there are more small businesses in the community than you might think.

“Of our membership, which most of these businesses are in Huntsville, Madison County, 67% have 20 or fewer employees,” said Claire Aiello, vice president of marketing and communications.

Sexton hopes the community support continues to stay on track to carry into the new year. 

There are also gift cards available for local businesses in the Madison County area. They can be purchased through a website set up by the chamber of commerce.