Trail shoppers are keeping their dollars local when shopping for gifts to put under the Christmas tree this year.
With just one week left until Christmas Day, businesses across the downtown area are reporting high holiday sales numbers this December with a low Canadian dollar, new items in stock and businesses working together to support each other.
Barb Billingsley, owner at Cedar Ave gift and coffee shop, The Doorway, says her store has seen a steady stream of customers this holiday season, better than last year.
“It has been good – very busy,” she said. “Overall, we have seen an increase for sure. I just think there is more commitment to shopping locally.”
Billingsley says having good stock in the store and collaboration between different businesses in the downtown area has definitely contributed to the rise in sales compared to the same time last year.
“The downtown businesses have done a great job working together to encourage people to shop locally,” she said. “The idea of the Treasure Hunt has been really successful, just even encouraging people to at least look around and see what we have here. I also think that, in the store, we just have a great selection this year. We have some good stuff.”
Sue Vlanich was shopping at The Doorway on Wednesday and says it was the brands the store carries that keeps her Christmas spending money in local tills.
“It is a lovely atmosphere here (at The Doorway),” she said. “I really like the brands they have, and I have bought them before, so I come back. I do a bit of both (local and non-local shopping).”
The large disparity between the American and Canadian dollars is another reason that Trail shoppers are deciding to stick to this side of the border for their holiday gift shopping. Currently, the loonie is equal to US$0.86.
“The lower Canadian dollar is helping,” said Erik Laithwaite, co-owner of Gerick Sport and Cycle in the Gulch, adding that buying from the United States, especially on the Internet, has lost its magic for holiday shoppers this year.
“I think there is an awareness that things aren’t truly cheaper just because they are on the Internet. Us, and many other stores around, are very well priced. There is good competition.
“The mentality is that as soon as you go online, things are going to be cheaper, is starting to disappear.”
Laithwaite also believes that consumers are starting to understand that shopping locally means that the money spent will be staying in the area.
“I think there is also more awareness about the number of dollars that go back into the community when you spend money locally,” he said.
Lauener Bros Jewellers normally sees a bit of a lull in sales in mid-December, but co-owner Paul Durkin says this holiday season, sales have stayed steady throughout the month.
“Normally, we see a big peak at the start when we do a one-day sale at the start of the December and usually there is a little bit of a down low, then it ramps up closer to Christmas,” he said. “This year, it has started out strong and has continued strong throughout.”
The jewellery store has been “hectic,” he said, crediting new stock available for Trail shoppers to purchase.
“This year, for us, it is looking substantially better (than last year),” he said. “We brought in Pandora Jewellery, which is our number one thing. Being the monster, international brand that it is, it has been fantastic for us.”