HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — There’s a lot more to think about before doing your holiday shopping this year.
You have to ask yourself: am I comfortable going into a store – or should I shop online?
Add on the desire to shop local and there are even more questions. This holiday season shoppers have decisions to make about what, how and where to buy their gifts, but the biggest one is how to shop safely.
“I love being able to shop locally because you can see things in person, be able to decide if it’s going to be the perfect gift for someone and you’re also able to support a family business, which is a win-win at large,” said Christa Butler, Co-owner of Preservation Company.
Christa and Jason Butler own Preservation Company, a local and family owned business in Downtown Huntsville. While they’ve seen customers come in steadily during the pandemic, they are expecting a quieter than usual Black Friday. However, they’re still getting ready to keep their customers safe.
“We are just increasing our cleaning procedures for the heavier traffic that might happen and here we are extremely fortunate because we have a lot of space to spread out,” said Christa. “We have outdoor space, indoor, upstairs so we can spread out and still be able to enjoy some Black Friday shopping.”
Buying local doesn’t just mean heading to the shops yourself; there are other ways to support local businesses.
Mary Grace Hixon owns and operates May Mays Boutique, an online clothing store.
“It’s safer you know, obviously people aren’t coming by and touching all the clothes. It’s usually just me that’s shipping out the clothes, so there’s not many people handling your stuff, you’re not in a store, but people also aren’t going to drive by you and think about it you know?” said Hixon.
Hixon said with some people hesitant to shop in person, she’s preparing for good business this holiday season.
“We just try to make sure everything is clean, obviously you always wash your hands, and I’m usually the only one packaging stuff because we are a very small business so I usually do all of the packaging,” Hixon said.
Either way, local, small businesses are digging deep to make it through the holiday shopping season.
“Something that you get when you shop locally, a lot of your local stores have products that you can’t get online, your supporting a local business but the experience, you’re actually shopping with your neighbor,” said Jason Butler, co-owner Preservation Company.
According to the US Census Bureau survey from earlier this month around 30% of small businesses said they have had a large negative impact from the pandemic, and about 45% say the negative impact has been moderate.