adjusts an item at The Barn Owl in Delafield.
WAUKESHA - Local retailers are reporting
mixed results so far this holiday shopping season with
only six shopping days left. The good news for those
whose sales are lagging behind previous years is that
the National Retail Federation reported Tuesday that 90
percent of shoppers still need to finish their
The NRF’s final consumer holiday spending survey of
the season released Tuesday indicated that the average holiday
shopper has completed 53.5 percent of her shopping, similar to the
52.9 percent seen this time last year. Approximately 10 percent of
holiday shoppers say they are finished - or 22.6 million people.
Amy Keppeler hopes those unfinished shoppers pass
through the doors of her downtown Delafield business, The Barn Owl.
“Christmas shopping has been a little more delayed
this year,” she said, adding that last-minute shopping has picked up
in about the past week-and-a-half.
“I think the weather has a lot to do with that, with
having this warmer fall and winter, people aren’t motivated to buy
warmer clothing,” Keppeler said.
ornament for sale at The Barn Owl in Delafield.
In addition to clothing items, The Barn
Owl sells lotions, jewelry, ornaments and gift items.
Keppeler said the store will remain open from 10 a.m. to
2 p.m. Christmas Eve.
“If the momentum keeps up we might be able to keep
close to last year’s (sales),” she said.
One area that The Barn Owl saw a lot of improvement
regarding sales this year was for Black Friday and Small Business
Saturday, which is also true for Terri Stine, owner of Fruits of the
Spirit Candles in downtown Waukesha.
Overall, the holiday shopping season has gone really
well for Stine’s store, which has been hosting free photos with
Santa from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. This Saturday will be the
final visit by the jolly elf in red before Christmas.
WDBA campaign cited as factors
“We obviously rely on foot traffic. Having the nicer
weather makes it easier for people to walk around,” Stine said.
She also credits the advertising done by the Waukesha
Downtown Business Association for its Silver Bells campaign for
bringing many families and shoppers to downtown Waukesha.
Fruits of the Spirit Candles will remain open Sunday,
despite normally being closed to make that day, but will be closed
Christmas Eve. Stine has also participated in the WDBA’s 12 Days of
Christmas campaign by offering a discount on Tuesdays, Wednesdays
and Thursdays during December for people who bring in food donations
for the food pantry. Each store has had a different special.
“We are definitely having a good season here,” Stine
Carrie Igielski, owner of Allo Chocolat in downtown
Waukesha, said her season has been good so far and should only get
better because many people wait until the final days before
Christmas to buy chocolate.
“They want their chocolate fresh. We tend to be a
last pick-up type of thing,” she said, adding often chocolate and
candy will be purchased for gifts for the mail carrier, garbage
collector and teachers.
“Our holiday season has been excellent. A lot of
people are excited about the downtown. We are surprised, humbled I
guess, by the amount of support we get from the community,” Igielski
She also believes the warmer weather has helped bring
more customers through her doors, although she said some people have
commented it also doesn’t feel like Christmas.
“But they are out and about and they are here when
they say it,” Igielski said.
The carriage rides, breakfast workshop and other
Silver Bells events have also benefited Allo Chocolat, she said.
During the final shopping days, Allo Chocolat will be open every
day, including from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Christmas Eve.
Tadpoles, a children’s store in downtown Delafield,
will also be open Christmas Eve, but owner Kelli Stuckart is hoping
to lure customers in Saturday by offering a raffle for a wooden
children’s kitchen and holding cookie decorating for kids. For every
$25 purchase, a customer will be entered into the raffle Saturday.
Stuckart said the holiday shopping season has only
gone OK for her business and there seems to be more last-minute
shopping this year. While online sales are popular during the weeks
after Thanksgiving, Stuckart said she thinks more people will be
visiting brick-and-mortar stores.
“I think there comes a time from now until Christmas
ordering may not be an option,” she said.
The NRF reported that 44.8 percent of people said
they are still weighing their choices between gifts before buying
and 28.8 percent said they wait until mid- to late-December to buy
gifts because their friends and family haven’t given them enough
ideas as to what they want. Another 22 percent said they are waiting
for the best deals on holiday merchandise and 20.8 percent said they