Despite a struggling economy, there is no shortage of holiday cheer in the Brazos Valley. And as more people finish up their shopping, it can be easy to forget about the local mom and pop shops that depend on support from the community, but this Christmas season, many local merchants are bucking the trend with healthy sales.
It is a sound that Karen Kasper says has never felt so rewarding: the sound of success. Kasper is the owner of Witt's End in College Station and although times have been rough, her boutique has made it through some of the best and worst of economic times.
"We had a record November, we just celebrated our 20th anniversary," Kasper says.
Kasper says people get more than just a shopping trip when they take a peek inside Witt's End, rather it is more of a shopping experience. This is the very reason Erika Ervin keeps coming back for more.
“That’s what I love about this place, you don’t have to wait in long lines and you get more personal attention,” Ervin explained.
Kasper depends on regulars like Ervin.
“It's very important for our economy, you have to keep everything stirred up from within and when our economy is strong everything always seems to run smoothly,” Ervin says.
"It makes it tough for us to stay in business if we don't have customers coming in and shopping," says The Texas Rose Boutique Manager Joanna Spencer.
Nestled in the heart of downtown Bryan, The Texas Rose Boutique isn't experiencing the thorns that come along with a volatile economy. In fact, business is steaming.
“It's been a real good year, we've been real busy," explained Spencer. “We are really enjoying the new location and being in downtown Bryan.”
Whether you are window shopping or Christmas shopping, the effects of spending locally reach far beyond your purchase.
“Every time you shop local, you are in return multiplying your dollars here as well,” explained Jordan Meserole of the Bryan - College Station Chamber of Commerce. “The money stays here and goes to the city itself; it goes to the general sales tax fund and supports things like the fire department, the police department and can also support economic development and bring new businesses to town.”
Whether you are looking for golden rings or a partridge in a pear tree, supporting unique local stores just might be the best present you give yourself and many others this holiday season.
According to R.J. DeSilva, Spokesperson for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, in 2010, Bryan—College Station retailers accrued approximately $2,587,489,152 in gross sales.