MASSENA - The 2012 holiday shopping season was a good one, according to local merchants, who say this years sales were the best theyve seen in recent years.
Our business was excellent, said Jackie Sheehan, who together with her husband, Phil owns and operates Phil & Jackies on Main Street in the village.
It was up from last year. People were helping to support the local businesses and most of the time the shopping weather was really good, so that made it easier, she said.
When asked if she thought this years holiday sales were a sign of a recovering economy, Mrs. Sheehan said she didnt think that was the case.
I dont think the economy is getting better. I think its because we try to stay in a medium to low price range and offer services like gift wrapping. We also had a lot of in-house orders like ornaments, mugs and shirts, she said. We also try to carry Made In The USA products.
Mr. Sheehan said he thinks its those unique gifts that youre not going to find anywhere else that really drives their business.
Personalization keeps us going, he said, adding that more and more people are finding them as they enter year four at their new location.
After three-and-a-half years, people are realizing were here, he said.
Shannon Peets-Hendricks, who co-owns Peets Jewelers with several other members of her family, said their holiday season was also a good one.
This was one of the busier seasons weve had in the last couple of years, she said. Sales were definitely up.
While Ms. Peets-Hendricks said she expected things to be busier this year, she acknowledged you never can tell until Christmas has come and gone what exactly the season has in store.
The last couple of years have been getting better, so we were expecting to be a little busier and this was the busiest season weve had in a while, she said. You never know from year to year. Some people are starting to spend more and others are making more of an effort to shop local.
Three merchants that have recently opened their doors at St. Lawrence Centre were also pleased with their sales.
While Memory Lane isnt exactly a new business, this year was its first holiday season without long-time owner Karen Osaway, who sold the business to Peggy Cruz before passing away in 2012.
Karen and God blessed me, Ms. Cruz said. My holiday season was fantastic.
Ms. Cruz, who had a booth in the shop and worked there prior to buying the business, said this year the store held a holiday sale and, while shes not certain thats the reason things went so well, she says it likely didnt hurt either.
We did a sale this year, which was out of the norm, she said. Im not sure if thats why we did so well or not. I think people would have still shopped.
One thing Ms. Cruz said she did notice was the types of purchases people were making.
Furniture was a mover, she said, adding in the past the store didnt sell a lot of furniture.
Ms. Cruz also said she saw a lot of new faces this year.
A lot of people who have never been in before came in, she said, adding often times they would return with their friends who had never been in the store before either.
Having first time customers have a good experience and bring back friends was good for us, she said.
One of the malls newest tenants, although a seasonal one, was Twisted Turtle.
Owner Jessika Furnace said their location at the mall was so busy they actually had to close their original Potsdam location.
The mall was extremely busy. It was busy enough for us to actually have to close the Potsdam store and take inventory from there to the mall, she said. It got very, very busy about three weeks before Christmas, and I couldnt get any more orders in.
While the Twisted Turtles St. Lawrence Centre location was a seasonal one, Ms. Furnace said she thinks her time in the mall was well spent.
I think we got a lot of new customers for our Potsdam location, she said, adding shes looking forward to returning to the mall for the 2013 holiday shopping season.
As long as theyll have us, Ill be there, she said.
Ms. Furnace also acknowledged this year was a learning experience and next year shes looking forward to a great holiday season at both locations.
It was our first year in the mall, and it was definitely a learning experience, she said. Next year well have enough inventory to have both stores open during the holiday season.
This year also marked the first holiday season at St. Lawrence Centre for The Mustard Tin, and the stores owner, Linda Dalton, says things went well.
This is my first year in the mall, so I cant really compare it to anything, but I did well. Im happy with what I did, she said.
Given it was their first year in the mall, Ms. Dalton said many shoppers were visiting her store for the first time.
Im new here, so a lot of people discovered me, she said. They were asking me if I just here for the holidays and I told them, No, Im here all the time.