It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, finally

Craig Hall, The Business Times:  

Local vendors looking for a successful Holiday season after a few years of difficulty

After spending the past few years adjusting inventory, staffing and many other facets of their businesses in an up and down atmosphere, retailers are looking forward to a Holiday shopping season that should end with a decided “up” when all is said and done. With a predicted sales being forecast slightly to moderately up for 2011, local retailers comment on the current year with an eye on a successful Holiday season. The season can be summed up in one word: Optimistic.

“After an overall steady year in terms of sales, I can truly see business picking up,” says Cyndi Edmunds, owner of Zephyr, whose store is teeming with the scarves, tunics, turtlenecks and leggings that the industry is predicting to be big sellers this season.

“I am looking forward to an exciting season in terms of both sales and atmosphere, we are very optimistic” says Gregg Palmer, owner of Brown’s Shoe Fit who points to the Main Street remodel being done and the unique, hometown-Holiday-atmosphere it will help create in downtown Grand Junction.

“We are seeing very good trends looking back over this year and feel good heading into the Holiday season,” says Peggy Page, owner of Page Parsons jewelers. Page adds that sales of diamonds and gold are particularly brisk as they hold and increase in value in difficult economies, making them a great gift investment.

Ivy Parnasius, owner of Pollux Clothing Company has been having a very good year and anticipates the trend continuing throughout the Holiday season. “We are looking forward to all of the events downtown for the season, plus we have the added benefit of a shopping Saturday before Christmas,” she said while admiring a store full of Friday afternoon shoppers.

But it isn’t just the shops that think the season will be jolly. Local companies that ship their goods across the country say things are looking up as well.

With October sales significantly up in their tasting rooms over 2010, Glenn Foster of Talon Brands Wineries is ready for a good Holiday season, “We are very optimistic this will be a good year.” Lee Mathis of Decadence Cheesecakes has been steadily increasing the reach of his business throughout the year by adding a location in Northern California which has also helped the Incubator-based entrepreneur lower his shipping costs. “And with some great reviews on food blogs across the country, we are anticipating a very good Holiday season in sending our product our across the country,” adds Mathis.

And at Enstrom Candies, a Grand Valley institution and bellwether for two generations of Holiday business, Jamee Simons is cautiously optimistic about the upcoming season. “We sent out our Holiday flyer a little earlier this year and the incoming results are indeed very good, Simons said.” and when you add that to the extra week we get this year after Thanksgiving, we anticipate outpacing last year in 2011, which was also up from the previous years.”