Shop owners say holiday profits mixed

Freedom New Mexico: Tony Bullocks Betty Mullins of Clovis makes an adjustment Friday to her display of crosses at Main Street Crafters Mall. Mullins has been displaying her craft for the past 10 years and said “I sell more during Christmas and this Christmas has been better than the last.”

Alisa Bowell

According to many local Clovis and Portales business owners, their holiday sales for 2010 have been good, despite the economic downturn.

Randy Petty of Ace Hardware in Clovis said the store’s sales numbers are always at their highest in the summer due to the amount of outdoor products sold in the store. He said the Christmas holiday season is their second highest selling period each year.

Petty said sales are down about 10 percent this year as compared to December of 2009, but the store has still done well and transaction counts have increased by 10 percent since the holidays began. Petty said more people have been coming in but less money is spent due to the economical slump.

“Based on the fact that transaction counts are up and we’ve had no complaints with increased traffic, that’s success to me,” said Petty. “We’ve even had some people go out of their way to compliment our customer service.”

Petty said some of the holiday sales Ace has offered this month included the 20 percent off bag sale in which customers received 20 percent off everything they could fit in one bag. He also said this weekend marks a 30 percent off store wide sale. Petty said the week of the New Year’s Eve holiday, the store will have a Year End Inventory Reduction Sale.

Nancy Tivis, owner of Fashion Girl Merle Norman Cosmetics in Portales, said her business has suffered greatly this season, partly due to location and partly due to the economy.

Tivis said people are being more careful about how they spend their money this season and prioritizing with the products they buy.

“I think everybody’s afraid to do anything, because they don’t know what the tax cuts will be,” said Tivis. “People are afraid to spend money on certain things that aren’t necessities. People are trying to save their money.”

Tivis said sales have dropped by 50 percent since October. She feels this is due not just to the economy but also because of the difficulty of parking around her business and difficulty attracting younger shoppers, a group she said her store accommodates.

Tivis said although times are slow for them now, she fully expects business to pick up again once the economy is better.

“We’d like people to just come in and look. They don’t even come in right now. I’d love for people to come.”

Tivis said clothing sales, with discounts from 20 to 75 percent, go on throughout the year.

Liberty Dictson, owner of the Shabby Sheep Yarn Shoppe in Portales, said her business has done well in the holiday season. Dictson said after originally opening her shop in The Main Place in Portales in April, she moved and re-opened the store in November. She said re-opening in a new location right around the holiday season has proved beneficial for her business.

“I’m amazed and very excited,” said Dictson. “The thing I’ve heard more than anything is, ‘Portales needed something like this.’ We started with $400 and it’s just grown.”

Dictson said for this holiday season, she and 18 other stores on the Portales square joined forces for the Portales Christmas Crawl in which shoppers could put their names into a drawing for various prizes after obtaining signatures from 15 of the stores. She said the event brought business to her store that she would not have otherwise had.

Anna “Shorty” Powell, owner of the Crafter’s Mall in Clovis, said sales for her store have increased by 20 percent since October. Jackie Hodges, an employee of the store, said this holiday shopping season has been better for their store than last season.

“You would not believe the people we have come in here from all over the U.S.,” said Hodges.

She said the upstairs restaurant and party room also help with business.

Hodges said the store held two holiday shopping events in November of this year, Moonlight Madness and Christmas Open House, both of which included discounts and raffles. She said the two events increased their number of shoppers.

“We had a lot of people come in, whether they were looking or buying,” said Hodges. “So it gets them in here. A lot of people have been more cautious about spending this year.”

Hodges said the store has still done well, despite this fact. She said the store is not planning any more sales for the final week of Christmas shopping.