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Local small businesses see strong holiday sales

Published On: Dec 23 2013 09:44:22 PM MST

Small Business Saturday was weeks ago but local shops are bustling with people looking for that perfect gift.

NBC Montana spent Monday talking with small local retailers to find out how the season is treating them.

Several local shop managers who tell us it was a slow start the holiday shopping season but now business is picking up.

Bruce Micklus has managed Rockin' Rudy's in Missoula for nearly 30 years and he tells us they have steady business year round but always see a boost in sales around Christmas.

“We've gone through some ups and downs with the music business but more than anything it's kicking right now,” he says.    

Micklus tells us while they're seeing high sales this Christmas; they did do slightly better last year.

“I think if we just would have had a better beginning, even though this weekend was better than it was last year so it slowed down a bit,” he explains.  “It’s hard to recover four or five days that were still okay but not like they normally were.”  

We also talked with Erin Sipe who works at Walking Stick Toys in Missoula.   

“It's been about the same numbers wise as it was last year but we did have a shorter season this year so we kind of missed a week which makes a little bit of a difference,” says Sipe.

Sipe she says while some box stores may open their doors 24/7 during the holiday season, that's not how this small toy shop works.

“We definitely don't extend our hours,” she said.  “We're all moms so we want to be with our families on Christmas!”

Sipe says box stores may reel shoppers in with sales but they reel shoppers in with hospitality.

“The biggest thing we do that balances that just the whole vibe of our stores is a completely different experience so we don't even compete directly with them,” she says.   

“Well hopefully we've differentiated ourselves from the box stores enough that people respond to what we have,” adds Micklus.  

Micklus tells us with hundreds of shoppers making their way through the doors at Rockin' Rudy’s; the store will start off the New Year with a bang.

For small businesses like Rockin' Rudy's, holiday sales are important but Micklus says more importantly it's about building relationships with local residents so they always come back.