Local shops ready to welcome holiday shoppers
November 25, 2021
WORLAND – Several local businesses are ready to kick start the holiday shopping season this weekend
With this past year being exceptionally difficult for most local businesses, they've found a way to turn it around and stay open thanks to support from the community.
Larsen's Bicycle Shop owner Lisa Weamer said she's building back the bicycle inventory after last year. According to Weamer, last year's demand was much higher than normal and they spent the summer with few mountain bikes. However, they are now stocked up and ready to go with bikes and other items like Oakley sunglasses, skateboards and everything to go outside and enjoy winter.
According to Weamer, COVID brought a surge in the business.
"We were off the charts because there was an unprecedented demand, but then fell off the cliff because we head to hold onto money to buy inventory back," she said. Weamer explained that with COVID, kids were out of school early leading to the parents buying them bicycles so they had something fun to do and engage in outdoor activities.
"People are anxious to find product locally, they can depend on the service. People are stopping in already and putting things on layaway. They're empathetic because of the situation," Weamer said. "So many things are hard to get ahold of that it became the norm, and people started to expect it."
Another store that's been recovering from COVID in time for the Christmas season is Pet Barn, owned by Terry and Nancy Sutherland.
The business recently brought back its grooming service and added a Do It Yourself dog washing station, in addition to its retail salesPet Barn offers dog clothing, treats, toys, over 30 different brands of dog food samples and more. Terry Sutherland's philosophy is, "It's not enough to be a local business if you have nothing to offer."
Terry noted that the business was hit hard due to COVID and the surge of online sales. Because of this they had decided to look at an entirely new business plan and focus on service products. Thus they brought in the dog wash station and brought in a new groomer.
In addition to the service part of business, Terry also said he took a closer look at the products they were offering and now offer a line of Diamond Dog Food in 40-pound bags. The company features the 40-pound bags so they are offered at a lower cost but it is still high quality dog food.
Ray Whitt with The Outdoorsman experienced issues with inventory and a higher demand last year.
Whitt said they are down 30% to 35% on inventory, but are expecting to be in good shape with apparel brands. Whitt is expecting to see handgun ammo being sold, as it has been hard to get this past year.
He added that shoppers can still expect the small town/small business feel and that they still offer gift wrapping. The Outdoorsman still offers one-on-one customer service whenever possible.
So far, the store has had some trouble getting in snow pants and winter jackets and are seeing some import issues. However, they have enough assortments so that where supply has not been received; they are able to fill it in with something else.
The Flower Exchange held an open house last weekend and had a good turnout, according to owner Katie Tommerup. Tommerup said she is hopeful it will be a good turnout for everyone in town this season. She added that supply has been an issue to get in, but they're not having troubles getting any flowers. She explained that the supply issues have mostly affected gift items that they get in, but it means that people can expect something new every day.
"We're here to help in any way that we can. We still can make it a fabulous and help everyone have a wonderful Christmas," Tommerup said.
Tommerup explained that the store has not been completely impacted in the way that other stores have been. She said that availability and quality in flowers are still good and, though it may not be exactly what you are expecting, they're there to help in any way that they can.
When COVID first hit, Tommerup said that the store closed for two weeks. However, they experienced a lot of great support from the town.
"When we opened back up again, everyone was here to support us and we did very well."