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Seasonal sales results in downtown Digby as diverse as selection of stores

Two owners say business is great, another reports it’s “terrible”

DIGBY, N.S. – One downtown business owner says shes having her best Christmas season ever, while another described this months sales as terrible.

Michelle Emin, owner of Second Look, a shop that sells wooden crafts created by Emin, is reporting her best Christmas sales ever.

Were having a great Christmas, and thats good news, Emin said, between customers, saying she only had a few seconds to talk, as more people entered the store. You really need a good Christmas to get through the rest of the winter months.

Her store has been in downtown Digby for 12 years and she said her sales this year are up from all previous years.

Thats right now, she laughed. We all know whats going to happen next month. Im going to be sitting here painting all by myself, just like the Maytag repair man.

Emin said her tourist season was also really good this year, and she credits her products, selection and the handmade quality that offers her business the repeat clientele.
And the fact that we can do custom orders, she added. That really helps.

Across the street however, Kathy Bowser, owner of Kathys fashions plus, is not happy about her sales season.

Last year was bad, Bowser said. This year is terrible. The worst Ive ever seen.

Her shop sells womens clothing and custom t-shirt designs as well as a host of accessories.

Im sitting here, doing nothing, four days before Christmas, Bowser said. If something doesnt change soon, all the small businesses are going to be gone.

While Bowser said she had a good tourist season, she pointed the finger at online shopping as the culprit for her slow sales.

People just arent coming in here anymore, she said. We started out terrific, and its slowly just died off. Some people say, I forgot you were here.’”

Bowser is worried that her business might not survive the winter.

I thought about closing up for the winter, but I cant afford to do that either, she said, outlining that she has to keep paying the store rent, whether shes open or not. Its not good, she admitted. Right now, Im having to use some of my husbands pension money just to pay the bills. I dont know what Im going to do. If sales dont pick up, I cant keep going.

She says shes tried advertising, specials, social media but nothing is working.

People like what I have when they come in, she said. I just have to figure out how to get them in here.

Further up the street, sales results were more of a mixed bag. Atlantic Treasures Energy Stones and Crystals owner, Brian Dugas, said this is his first Christmas season in his new location and its going really well.

This is a new location for my store and its made all the difference, he said. Dugas said hes also driving traffic to his store using Facebook contests and promotions, and for him, thats really working.

Ive been really, really busy this season, Dugas said. I have nine different crafters stuff in here. We have ornaments, stained glass and candles, and Im offering essential oil classes. Theyre really popular.

Down the street, Peter Wilson, owner of The Shoe Box and Peter Turnbull, manager of Fancy Jewellers said theyre both having more of an average year.

Business is up and down, Wilson said, and a few minutes later, Turnbull echoed the same words.

This year has had its ups and downs. Overall, were not too bad, Turnbull said. But sales are down a bit at this time from last year. He smiled. We have three more shopping days left, so well see.

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