Last Minute Rush Helped Local Holiday Sales - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Last Minute Rush Helped Local Holiday Sales

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KALISPELL -

Even though it got off to a late start, many local businesses are happy with how the holiday shopping season panned out.

With Thanksgiving coming later than usual and some bone chilling weather, it seemed like the perfect storm had hit our small businesses this holiday season.

"We're gonna come really close to hitting last year. Last year was incredible for us," said Janelle Buchanan, the owner of Think Local.

Several of the vendors on Main Street in Kalispell say they are on par to match, or even exceed, last year's profits, but it all came down to those last few hours leading up to Christmas.

"Right at the end, the last three days going into Christmas were incredible so I think we made up quite a bit of our loss," said Buchanan.

"We had a slow start with Thanksgiving being late, but after that it just rolled on and on and on. The twenty-third was our best day yet," said Mary Witbrod, the co-owner of Imagination Station.

The late in the game influx meant staying open past 5:00 p.m. on Christmas eve at Think Local, and Imagination Station even had to hire some holiday help. Buchanan says she thinks the snow might have even helped sales.

"We had a lot of Canadian people in. It was fabulous. We had a lot of locals and a lot of tourists right now because we have snow so they're here skiing," explained Buchanan.

This seems to be in line with the national trend. Numbers from the MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse report put retail growth at 2.7% between the first of November and Christmas eve, compared to just 0.7% last year.

"That was surprising you know because usually we just have a few people, last minute shoppers," said Buchanan.

Even as the stockings are being put away and the trees are coming down, at least one business owner is still dealing with the aftermath.

"I cannot believe how little inventory, what they went through. It's amazing," said Witbrod.

That same MasterCard report also shows jewelry was the hottest seller this year, while sales from men and women's clothing actually fell.

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