The holiday weekend could be a terrifying weekend for retailers, with the National Retail Federation estimating that 166.3 million shoppers could visit stores from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. But as millions of people pass the checkout line, rising costs put some retailers in a difficult position, especially small businesses.
The Marketplace reached out to three small businesses ahead of the holiday weekend to see how they’re handling costs and customer traffic.
Kristin Thalheimer is a co-owner of Dean’s Sweets in Bingham, Portland, Maine
“Costs began to stabilize in mid-autumn, after rising several times in the spring and summer. However, we have raised our prices,” says Kristin Thalheimer Bingham, who runs a chocolate shop in Portland, Maine, with her husband Dean. Co-owner of Dean’s Sweets.
“It wasn’t exactly what we wanted to do, but we could see how tight our margins were getting, how everything was getting more expensive – not just materials, but everything, like utilities and shipping. It really dawned on us that if we want to keep our business alive, we have to raise our prices.
That said, Thalheimer Bingham was excited about the prospect of last-minute orders. “I’d like to see some more big orders,” she said. “They are beautiful miracles that we have to work hard for. If we are well organized and prepared, no one gets very tired and we can say yes to those great miracles.”
A box of chocolates from Dean’s Sweets. (courtesy of Melissa Mullen Photography)
Diane Jenks at Hubbub Cycles in Kirtland, Ohio
Our costs are going up,” said Diane Jenks of Hubbub Bicycles in Kirtland, Ohio. “Cargo, in particular, seems very expensive at the moment, no matter what kind you use.”
“We started delivering the goods to the customers,” he said.
For Hubbub, which builds and repairs custom bikes, its main concern is its own parts. “Like e-bikes, those come from a manufacturer in a box of proprietary parts that you can’t really work on,” Jenks said. “And you hate turning people away. But sometimes you have to do it.”
Phillip Rollins, owner of Offbeat in Jackson, Mississippi
“This year’s holidays, I can’t compare [to others] But because I’m in a new location,” says Phillip Rollins, owner of Offbeat in Jackson, Mississippi. The store sells vinyl records, comics, and collectible toys. “I don’t have a lot of foot traffic, as people would think. I will still be a go-to destination for many people when they want to do some Christmas shopping.
Rollins hopes to do a lot of business before the end of the year. “From what I would like to see in the coming weeks, sales will hopefully be huge.” That would be ideal, of course, but you know, I’d like to help as many people as possible find those documents. They are looking or want to find a turntable they are looking for.”
“I look forward to seeing what happens after that, especially in December, because after that it dies down in March or April,” he added.
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