Merchants urge local shoppers to buy local goods
To shop at the mall or not to shop at the mall – that is the question shoppers, especially local shoppers, ask themselves once this time of year rolls around.For Chester, Calif., resident Ellice Roderick there’s no doubt that shopping outside of the mall is the answer.”I like all the little shops here,” Roderick said while walking in downtown Truckee on Wednesday morning, already carrying a bag of gifts. “It’s more like the old-time shopping instead of going to the mall.”Some downtown merchants say getting people like Roderick into their stores hasn’t been as much of a challenge as getting more locals to spend their money downtown. The Truckee Downtown Merchants Association has tried to lure more locals Commercial Row with expanded business hours at several stores, so Truckee residents can shop after work.Mike Talmadge, who works at Cabona’s, said he hasn’t seen too many locals respond to the expanded hours.”We had maybe two people between 6 and 7 (p.m.),” he said.He said the bulk of the shoppers at Cabona’s are from out of town – Sacramento, Reno and the foothills – and most of the local shoppers he sees are second homeowners.”There’s a big misconception that everything on Commercial Row is expensive – upper-end and over-priced,” Talmadge said. “I think if the locals came in, they might be surprised.”Another holiday shopper, Carnelian Bay-resident Don Brown, said he hadn’t been to downtown Truckee in a while, and he said Commercial Row had exceeded his expectations.”I live here locally, and I was surprised how much things had changed. Everything is nicer,” he said.In fact, most of the shoppers on Commercial Row approached by the Sierra Sun (who were all, incidentally, from out of town, except for a group of preschoolers who were “window-shopping”) cited “quality” as a reason for shopping in downtown Truckee.Jenelle Potvin, who sits on the board for the Downtown Merchants Association, said locals should feel compelled to support their downtown merchants because of their involvement in the community.”Since I moved here, I realized how big of and impact local downtown business owners have in the town,” Potvin said in a phone interview from The Heart That Gives, a shop located inside The Truckee Hotel. “They’re active in town issues and they care about the future of Truckee.”Another reason for downtown merchants to lure locals into their stores is weather. If it snows, as it has for the past couple weekends, out-of-towners will be less likely to make the drive to Truckee, whereas locals are already here.Some merchants said they believe the weekend storms have made business a little slow so far this holiday season.”It hasn’t been a stellar year,” Talmadge said. “We’re not breaking any records.”Jerry Wood, who has owned White Buffalo for 15 years, says the majority of his business comes from locals, and that only 20 to 30 percent of White Buffalo shoppers are tourists and second homeowners.He agreed that this season has been relatively slow for his shop, though he expects business to increase as Christmas approaches.”It’s happened every year for the past 15,” he said, “so I don’t expect it to be any different now.”Merchants keep their doors open longer this weekendToday and Saturday evening, the following merchants will offer later business hours:– Artruckee– Bob Robert’s Jewelers– Cabona’s– Clutter, Inc.– Cooking Gallery– Dave’s Ski Shop– Gratitudes Gourmet Gifts & Baskets– Jackass Ridge Ranch– JoAnne’s Stained Glass– Marilyn’s Catwalk– Molly’s Cupboard– Old Greenwood– Sierra Shades– St. Nick’s Christmas Shoppe– Soapworks & More– Sweets Homemade Candies– The Heart That Gives– The Treehouse– The White Buffalo– Truckee Train ‘N Toy– Vrooman Woodcarvings and Wildlife Gallery
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