For retailers, large and small, the holiday shopping season is the most important season of the year. Retail analysts say that a solid holiday period can help put a company in the black financially for the fiscal year while a weak sales season can pull them into the black.
Large, national retailers, though, have many more opportunities throughout the year to lure shoppers. For small, local businesses, the holiday season can be a “make it or break it” time.
This year, especially, the holiday shopping season is critical for local retailers.
First, with Thanksgiving coming on Nov. 28, the traditional shopping season is compressed into fewer than four weeks. If you’re counting, it’s only 26 days from Black Friday to Christmas Eve. Twenty-six days for small businesses to either wind up the year in the black or in the red. Pulling off that feat in a longer shopping season is difficult enough, but in only 26 days? A challenge, to say the least.
Downtown Danville is filled with dozens of local businesses — unique shops and one-of-a-kind bars and restaurants — whose owners have been lured to the River City by its historic architecture and its entrepreneurial spirit. Lou’s Antique Mall, The 616 Farm-to-Table Restaurant, Ballad Brewing, Rippe’s, Downtown Records and dozens more businesses (www.riverdistrictassociation.com/directory): Each is an opportunity to give a gift that is unique to Danville.
Just a short drive from downtown are more Danville-only businesses that folks drive from all over to patronize. The Gingerbread House, located in the old King of the Sea Restaurant building on Memorial Drive, pulls in locals and visitors from across Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina, providing a shopping opportunity that just screams “Merry Christmas!” And on Chambers Street, near the historic Grove Street Cemetery and Millionaire’s Row, is Midtown Market, a step-back-in-time grocery that’s become a Danville tradition which will be marking its centennial in 2021.
Small, locally owned retailers — throughout the city — give Danville its unique character. Businesses that our friends and neighbors operate and put their hearts and souls into, from the River District to Main Street, from Ballou Park Shopping Center to Riverside Drive to the hundreds of others strewn throughout the city and the region.
In supporting “Shop Local,” though, we also would remind you of the importance the national retailers with a presence in Southside Virginia. They employ thousands of local folks and pay millions of dollars in local taxes, so when you can’t find that perfect gift at a locally owned business, don’t scurry to find it online, give a local national retailer a chance.