THOMASVILLE — With some downtown Thomasville businesses closing temporarily earlier this year because of COVID-19 fears, combined with lighter shopping traffic later, the Christmas shopping season was crucial to keeping some of the businesses in the black.
"Sales for us were up 62 percent. December was overwhelming," said April Fletcher, Ally B Boutique owner.
Sip 'n Stroll and Reimagined Victorian Christmas boosted sales, Fletcher said, adding that people were made aware of the events and downtown shopping opportunities.
"I feel like people were tuned in and focused on shopping local," she said.
At the Pink Valise Boutique, co-owner Tracie Fiveash said business was good.
"We did well, way better than we expected," she said.
Merchants coming together to sponsor Reimagined Victorian Christmas, along with Sip & Shop events, boosted sales, she said.
"Phenomenal" is how Onward Reserve owner Melissa Korobeynikov described the Christmas shopping season at her men's clothing store.
Onward Reserve's Christmas sales exceeded last year's, Korobeynikov said.
Rhonda Foster, co-owner of Liam's Restaurant, Lounge & Cheese Shoppe, said December was an exceptional month — even on the day after Christmas.
An organizer of the new Thomasville Downtown Merchants Alliance, Foster said merchants joined forces to put money, ideas and focus together to bring about holiday shopping success.
People shopped and dined downtown, she said, adding that some out-of-towners came to downtown Thomasville twice to eat and shop.
Heather Abbott, another organizer of the new merchants bloc, said her business experienced the best year overall and holiday shopping season ever.
Abbott, co-owner of SouthLife Supply Co., which makes handmade leather goods, said it was obvious customers chose to support downtown and shop locally. Local residents were "intentional" in their efforts to shop locally, she added.
Abbott said the alarm bell has sounded about shopping local.
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820