NORTH VERNON — Retailers in downtown North Vernon are hoping Jennings County residents will embark on their holiday shopping adventures close to home this year.
So far this year, holiday spending across the nation has increased by nearly 12 percent from last year’s sales during the same time period.
According to the National Retail Federation, sales during November and December often account for a third of a retailer’s annual sales and up to one-half the annual profits. It is important that retailers have a good season in order to maintain their operations throughout the year.
“Our local businesses are run by our neighbors and friends,” said Jennings County Chamber of Commerce Director Marie Shepherd. “They have much to offer to shoppers during the gift-buying season.
“Community support for our local businesses is important so they can stay in business and help support our community all year long,” she added.
According to Shepherd, sometimes North Vernon’s citizens make the mistake of thinking they have to leave the community and go elsewhere for their holiday shopping needs.
“We have so many specialty shops here, I think most will find what they need in our shops right here,” Shepherd said.
“There’s something for even the hardest people to buy gifts for in our specialty shops. Sure, go to the chain-stores for assembly line things like toys, but check out our own local shops for those special gifts. It will be more fun than shopping in the crowded malls, and you won’t waste gas and time driving all over.”
Shops throughout North Vernon have stocked their shelves in anticipation of the season.
“We have purchased merchandise from all around the country, and we have things from one dollar to high-end merchandise for sale,” said Tom Means who owns and operates Classic Stained Glass in North Vernon.
“We are hoping for a good season. Most of our business comes from other counties, but more local business would be nice.
“The mayor stopped in today. It’s the first time he has been in the shop in the 16 years we have been here. Maybe that is a good sign.”
Though Means’ shop specializes in custom stained-glass windows for businesses and homes, it also conducts classes in making stained-glass crafts and maintains a gift shop year round.
“This year, we have increased our gifts for men,” added his wife, Ann Means. “We even have sports-related items and military-related gifts.”
Shepherd advised shoppers to check out shops they normally don’t visit or visit only for particular reasons.
“Places like florists, they buy extra gift merchandise during the holidays and may have just what you are looking for,” Shepherd said. “We have athletic shops here that are very competitive in price and have about anything you would find in the big malls. Give our stores a chance.”