Area retailers promote appeals of shopping local

By Matt Butner - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - They may not get the same huge crowds as major retailers, but small businesses are just as excited about the holiday shopping season.

Some local stories are already seeing encouraging signs of consumer spending.

At Penzey's Spices in Carytown, the holiday shopping spirit fills the air like the scent of cinnamon.

And early indications are that the spirit is translating into more dollars in the register

"We've already been way ahead of last year's figures the whole week, week and a half leading up to Thanksgiving, and today is no exception," said store manager Dianne Liso.

Despite predictions of a nationwide spending decrease, optimism runs high on this stretch of Cary Street.

"I think it's going to be a good year for Penzey's. I think it's going to be a good year for a lot of people, a lot of merchants up and down Cary Street," she said.

David Oakley of Agee's Bicycles says they're gearing up for a Black Friday sales spike.

"We expect it to be busy," he said. "People are programmed to go shop on this day and hopefully every day thereafter until Christmas."

Oakley says shops like Agee's have some advantages over larger retailers.

For one, many stores in Carytown are locally owned.

"Whether it's food, or retail products, they are looking to shop local- that way, service is right around the corner," he said.

He also points out that shopping in a place like Carytown can be a break from the Black Friday crowds at the big stores.

"It's a more pleasant experience to be able to walk up and down on a nice day and shop, peek your head in a store, and you don't have to worry about the madness," said Oakley.

Carytown's merchants are hopeful that it will all add up to a welcome surge in holiday sales.

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