Small businesses prepare for the holiday season, after slower revenue earlier this year

Published: Nov. 4, 2022 at 12:01 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - We all know someone who decorates for the holidays as soon as it gets cold. Even businesses have begun to stock their shelves with shiny ornaments and stuffed Santas in hopes of making up for lost sales earlier in the year. Local businesses are feeling the squeeze major retailers have over them this holiday season.

”Christmas is the biggest season for small business owners,” says Sue McCormick, owner of O&A Farmhouse in Rapid City.

The National Retail Federation says sales during November and December average 20% of the year’s sales. For O&A Farmhouse, it’s more. “I would say 30% of it has to come from this holiday season,” said McCormick, proving just how crucial the last two months of the year are particularly for small businesses.

To prepare for the holiday season, months of planning are needed. “We plan way back into February, March, April. Where we’re buying inventory because we know that there are shortages across the United States,” explained McCormick.

One other shortage --- employees. “It is tough, we have a shortage of people looking for jobs, so I’ve seen a little bit of that struggle myself.”

Finding employees hasn’t been McCormick’s only struggle. “We have seen a downtick in sales, just over the last few months with inflation. We know that people are out looking to pinch their pennies for gas and groceries and all that,” stressed the owner of O&A Farmhouse.

Between the lack of inventory, the worker shortage, and inflation small businesses are feeling the squeeze, but so are larger stores.

Major retailers like Target use the 80/20 rule, expecting 80 percent of their sales from 20% of their most loyal customers. This year Target began to fill their shelves with Halloween items during summer. But small downtown businesses do not always have the capacity to stock their brick-and-mortar shelves a season ahead.

“The struggle is just trying to fight that online competition for small businesses, that’s probably the biggest struggle that we face,” said McCormick.

The downtown Rapid City business owner is focusing on collaboration with other local businesses this holiday season. “I lean into our community and doing events with the small businesses downtown.”