By Lisa Craft
Holiday sales activity has been comparable to last year, according to Monett merchants.
Downtown Broadway businesses brought mixed conclusions with many waiting for the last few days before Christmas to see if last minute shoppers will increase sales from last year.
"I'll have a big day and then I go down," said Linda Sitton, owner of Peppers and Co. She said that so far sales are about the same as last year but last year was an improvement to prior years. She said she was looking forward to Saturday and Monday.
"I'm getting a lot of out-of-town customers," said Sitton. "The foot traffic has been good and steady."
Sitton said that scarves and jewelry have been very popular. Donna Hammond, an employee at Peppers and Co., said that she had customers from Sarcoxie and Mt. Vernon who said they loved to come to Monett to shop because of the variety.
Monett's downtown offers places to take a break from shopping, and one of those spots is Denali Dreams Gallery and Coffee Shop. Shawn Bennett, owner, said sales were up 15 percent from last year but have been on a slow and steady increase throughout the year.
"I enjoy this time of year and the atmosphere in downtown Monett," said Bennett. "I encourage all last minute shoppers to shop locally and support downtown businesses."
Mitzi Doss, owner of Mitzi's Gifts and Décor, said that the business this year was good and comparable to last year.
"Foot traffic has not been good for me," said Doss. "The customers that are coming in are coming for specific items."
Berneice Morris, owner of Fashion Crossroads, also agreed that sales so far were on track with last year, but there was not enough foot traffic.
"The situation needs to improve drastically," said Morris.
Progress is continuing downtown with major improvements at Bruner Pharmacy and Hallmark Store.
"We are undergoing massive changes and remodeling," said John Bruner, owner. "People are responding positively to the progress. Sales are good, and the foot traffic has improved."
Bruner stated that the drive-through pharmacy window and the unfinished side of the store should be completed in four to six weeks.
"The public is enthused to see what is going on here," said Bruner. "We are thankful for their loyalty and support."
According to Mike Brownsberger, owner of Brownsberger's, the last week before Christmas is still his biggest week of the year. He expects Dec. 22, last Saturday before Christmas, to be his biggest day of sales for 2012.
"We have been quite busy the last few days," said Brownsberger. "We just need to see what happens the next few days. Right now sales are comparable to last year's. The items that are selling are different for everyone. I've seen people buy basics that are needed this year or items that are distinctly different."
The outlook for The Trunk has not proven to be quite the same.
"Sales are not good and down from last year," said Sharon Garrett, owner. "I believe that online shopping has interfered and the state of the economy. People are just not buying as much."
Garrett reported that foot traffic was down.
"The weather has been good," said Garrett. "The weather is not the reason for shopping to be down."
Garrett said that she recently did have some out-of-town customers who came into her business with a list of items and were thrilled that they found everything on their lists.
Steve Kelley, owner of Westco Furniture and Appliances, is marking his first year in a new location on Highway 60.
"Holiday sales are up this year compared to in years past," said Kelley. "Traffic is good, and people are wanting to spend money on items for their home. Men and women are coming in together to chose the home items. The most popular items this year are recliners."
According to Debbie Berger, owner of Mocha Jo's indowntown Monett, sales and traffic are about the same as last year.
"I love the fact that we are downtown," said Berger. "I love watching the improvements that are taking place and hope to see more."