After a holiday season with empty stores and virtual shoppers staying home to protect themselves from COVID-19, La Grange businesses are thrilled to see community members making their way through the doors this season in a big return.
Nancy Cummings, executive director of the La Grange Business Association, said businesses are already reporting seeing shoppers and feeling connected with the community once again. The pandemic put many small businesses through tough times, she said, but the community came through, making these physical interactions all the more exciting right now.
“What’s great is that we’re seeing a lot of buyers, not browsers this year,” Cummings, said. “People are shopping earlier and when they see something they want, they’re buying it because they don’t want to miss out.”
La Grange is celebrating the season in a number of ways, including having a Holiday Digital Wish Book for shoppers, Small Business Saturday flash sales and the highly anticipated Holiday Walk, which will be held Dec. 4. The digital Wish Book, which can be accessed at https://lgdelivers.com/wishbook/, features more than 25 retailers’ top-selling items.
Many businesses owners are participating in multiple holiday events, like LUXXE|HONOR owner Jennifer Del Giudice. Del Giudice’s business, a wellness studio which sells a variety of healthy natural products, can be found in the wish book and will be participating in the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 27 Small Business Saturday flash sale with free classes — such as Zumba, palates, yoga and meditation — available as well as 30-40% off coupons.
LUXXE|HONOR will also be celebrating the season with its own promotions, and Del Giudice said she is excited to see shoppers walking through her doors once more.
“People are longing for interaction with each other now more than ever,” Del Giudice said. “When my doors opened again, and even now, the energy is just amazing, and you can see people are excited to be in local spaces again. "
Chris Comes, president of the Ripson Group, a media relations and strategic relations organizations that works with the village, said holiday shopping is critical to the livelihood of small business owners, many of whom generate most of their revenue in the holiday quarter. For every $100 spent locally, $68 stays in the community, Comes said. By contrast, he said, for every $100 spent in a chain store, $40 stays local, and for Amazon shopping, there is no local return.
Comes said Del Giudice represents the vibrancy of La Grange that is found in its small business owners. The relationship between shoppers and small businesses is one that provides benefits for both, Cummings said, and it’s clear that connection is strong in La Grange.
“Traditional things are back in a big way,” Comes said. “Things are different this year because we are, as a community in La Grange, in the beginning stages of coming out of the worst pandemic in 100 years. People want to be together — they want to build connections with their community.”