Daily Star photo/CRAIG HAUPERT Like many other Niles businesses, Majerek’s Readers World is seeing an increase in holiday shoppers this season. Customer Karen Berk looks through the shop’s selection of books Monday.

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Niles businesses see uptick in sales

Published 8:50pm Monday, December 19, 2011

Many Niles businesses are reporting stronger holiday sales this year than they’ve had in years past.

Elsie Wilson, owner of Colorful Stitches at 225 E. Main St., said sales are up about 10 percent over last year at this time.

Daily Star photo/CRAIG HAUPERT Joni Jaecks, left, does some holiday shopping at Bella’s in downtown Niles Monday afternoon. Assisting Jaecks is employee Sandy Taylor, who said business has been good this year.

“I noticed this year with sales people were maybe afraid to spend money for awhile, but as we are getting closer to Christmas they are rushing right out there,” Wilson said. “It’s been getting crazy.”

Wilson, who opened the business last fall, attributes some of the growth to people getting to know her better.

She also said recent downtown Niles promotions, such as Small Business Saturday and the first Holiday Progressive Shopping Party, have created more business for her.

“I know that brought some people back in my store. They looked and then they left and then days later they came back and they bought,” Wilson said.

Sue Majerek, of Majerek’s Gift Shoppe and Reader’s World on East Main St., said sales are up at both stores over last year at this time.

“Without looking at the books, I am seeing the customer count has gone up about 30 percent,” Majerek said.

“Not only Niles people, but out-of-town people came here to shop, especially during Progressive and Small Business Saturday. That was definitely a huge help.”

Across the street at Veni’s Sweet Shop, operations manager Linda Skwarcan said they, too, are having an active Christmas season.

“We are very lucky that each year it tends to grow,” Skwarcan said. “Everybody likes chocolate so it makes a great Christmas gift. And each year, we try to do something new, offer a new product and advertise.”

Skwarcan also said promotions such as Small Business Saturday, Black Friday and Holiday Progressive help create additional business traffic.

Signal Travel & Tours, also on East Main Street, is seeing a slight increase in sales compared to last year. Owner Michele Boyd said popular vacations right now include Jamaica, Mexico and Disney resorts.

John Kirk, manager of Michiana Antique Mall, 2423 S. 11th St., said holiday sales have held steady the past couple years, with a small increase in business from out-of-towners.

“If anything the past couple years, the local buyers aren’t as active as they have been,” Kirk said. “I think that may be because the economy around here is softer than in other areas.”

Dana Haskins, owner of Color Me Christian on East Main Street, said sales are down slightly from last year. She said the downtown promotions have helped, but internet business is hurting her sales.

“It is hard to compete with their prices,” Haskins said.

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