‘The last six weeks of the year are huge;’ local businesses hope you’ll shop small this holiday season

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GREENSBORO, N.C. – With low prices, high stock and often free shipping, it’s hard to complete with many of the retail giants out there around the holiday season.

In Greensboro, local businesses are doing their best to keep up both in stores and online.

“This is definitely a make-or-break period of time for our business,” said Alexa Terry Wilde, owner of Antlers and Astronauts.

Wilde’s store has been selling vintage items and gifts in downtown Greensboro for about two years.

“The last six weeks of the year are huge,” Wilde said. “For any small business owners and for us especially... we are looking at about a quarter of our overall sales for the year.”

To make sure she gets enough sales, Wilde is hosting events, posting on social media and ramping up her online presence.

She’s made 27 sales on eBay, including two international shipments, since joining Greensboro’s Retail Revival program in March.

“It has allowed us to put specific products in the hands of these collectors, people who are looking for that specific thing,” Wilde said.

Over on Tate Street, Sister’s Jewelry and Gifts has been open for more than 20 years.

“December is sort of three months of sales in one month,” said Becky Paterson, the owner of Sister’s Jewelry & Gifts.

Paterson says they know the drill this time of year and so far business is going well. She joined eBay’s Retail Revival program hoping to get her business more exposure.

“Very high-quality advice on how to better retail online,” Paterson said.

She’s made some sales but believes the program has helped bring more people into her store.

“I think it helped us do better photographing, and do better wording on our e-commerce,” Paterson said.

Jessica Yelverton primarily sells her watercolor prints and items online. She’s owned HighBrow Hippie for about three years.

“I have sold more products in the last month than I have all year long,” Yelverton said.

She’s also a part of eBay’s Retail Revival program but says her products are doing better on other websites, including her own. (https://www.highbrowhippie.net/)

One thing she’s doing to better compete with major retailers this holiday season is offering free shipping.

“There is a lot of pressure to offer free shipping because so many other retailers do,” Yelverton said.

The owners said they offer things the major stores don’t have, like one-of-a kind items and an experience.

“Something unique that maybe people haven’t seen before,” Yelverton said.

“Lots of grab-and-go items… giftable items,” Wilde said.

“We have customers that have come every year and bought gifts for their wives for 23 years,” Paterson said.

One of the owners said she felt like things were a bit slow to get started this holiday season, likely because Thanksgiving was so late in the year. She thinks there will be a lot of last-minute shoppers.

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