How local, independent retailers are making the most of holiday season

How local, independent retailers are making the most of holiday season
(MELISSA KEY/CBJ)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It won’t be a typical holiday shopping season, but it’s a critical one for Charlotte’s independent retailers.

Gone is the idea of a traditional Black Friday sales crush, as shop owners take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For many, the holiday started last month with extended hours, ongoing specials and efforts to get shoppers in the door earlier to avoid overcrowding — and bump up sales. American Express’ Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28 provides another push to support independent retailers.

That’s critical as many small businesses were forced to close in March as COVID-19 cases climbed. Now, there’s fear a second shutdown could be looming.

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“I think the holiday season is probably much more important than in years past,” says Andy Ellen, president of the N.C. Retail Merchants Association. “It may make the difference of their being around next year.”

He says retailers large and small have been planning for months to ensure a safe shopping environment. Retailers must balance inventory and rely on creativity. “You have to sell your way out of this,” he says.

CBJ caught up with several local, independent retailers to learn about their survival strategies for this critical time of year. Read the full story here

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