Raleigh businesses praise effort to increase holiday traffic
Posted December 30, 2013
Updated December 31, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Raleigh businesses are lauding an effort to get more people to shop local this holiday season.
“This was off the charts. It was awesome,” said Heidi Goldman, store manager at Deco Raleigh. “We had lots of business. Lots of people visiting.”
The effort was led by Shop Local Raleigh and the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, which offered a special gift card for shoppers to use at downtown Raleigh businesses.
Entrepreneurs such as Goldman praised the holiday push.
“We got people commenting all the time how they were going to do all of their Christmas shopping in local shops only,” she said.
Shoppers such as Liz Colner and her brother Matt patronized local businesses this year to find unique gifts that cannot be found anywhere else, as well as those specific to North Carolina.
“Our mom used to own a boutique, so we try to shop local as much as we can,” she said.
The alliance sold 700 “Shop Downtown” gift cards, which could be used at more than 100 downtown businesses, said Ellen Fragola, merchant program manager. The cards made $41,000 for the alliance – nearly doubling original expectations. The alliance plans to sell the cards year-round.
“We were really excited because we launched the card right before the holiday season,” Fragola said.
The idea helped some merchants have great holiday seasons, said Jennifer Martin, executive director of Shop Local Raleigh, which promotes 400 Wake County businesses.
“They saw a lot of people buying gift cards this year,” she said. “ They saw a lot of people coming in that have never been there before and saying they are there because of local (support). They wanted to shop with them because they are a local business.”