Will Heisler of Kentville, a Grade 9 student at Northeast Kings Education Centre, was wrapping presents for shoppers at the County Fair Mall in New Minas on Dec. 15 to help raise money for an upcoming band trip to Boston and New Hampshire. It seems many local retailers are holding their own this Christmas season, noticing more people shopping closer to home. - Kirk Starratt
By Kirk Starratt
It seems more Kings County consumers are thinking local this year when it comes to Christmas shopping.
“I only shop in Kentville and New Minas,” said Susan Kingsbury of Kentville about her holiday spending. “I don’t like driving to Halifax.”
Kingsbury was at the County Fair Mall in New Minas on Dec. 16, wrapping presents as a fundraiser for the Northeast Kings Education Centre’s band trip to Boston and New Hampshire in March. She said a lot of area stores seem to be having a hard time in this day and age and she believes it’s important for consumers to support community businesses.
However, she recognizes that some people are choosing to shop in other areas and thinks more people today are shopping online, although she doesn’t herself.
When asked if a lot of area residents were taking advantage of opportunities to buy locally this holiday season, R.D. Chisholm Stationery and Books assistant manager Mike Lockhart said it seems like that. Sales seem to be holding steady at about the same level as last year at the Kentville business.
Lockhart said he’s sure some people are travelling elsewhere, such as the Halifax area, to shop, and more people are purchasing online for convenience and to avoid crowds. However, many of their specialties are selling well, including toys, games and puzzles.
“The inventory of LEGO has been low because of demand,” Lockhart said.
Occasions Gifts and Décor owner Andrea Watts said she thinks, in general, a lot more people are keeping local retailers in mind when shopping for that special something this Christmas season.
“Lots of people have mentioned to us they’re shopping locally,” Watts said, pointing out they’ve been using Facebook to help promote the importance of doing so.
It’s was “so far so good” on Dec. 15, with sales comparable to last year at her Kentville shop. She said customers looking for Christmas presents started coming in the first week of November.
“I think it started earlier this year for us,” she said. “People started earlier and spread it out over a longer period.”
Jewelry is the number-one selling item at Occasions, but accessories such as purses, and particularly scarves, are hot sellers this year. Smaller, inexpensive items are proving popular at the store.
Saunder’s Tartans and Gifts retail worker Abigail Rogers said she’s seeing lots of area residents shopping at the New Minas store this Christmas season. They’re also getting customers from Windsor, Mahone Bay and other areas. Sales seem to be on par with last year and she doesn’t believe the lure of shopping online or in the Halifax area is taking away from business at the store.
“Most of what people get here they can’t get in the city,” she said.
They’re selling a lot of Grohmann knives, made near Pictou. Calendars, Christmas decorations and pottery are other popular items, she said.