Columbus small business owners adjusting during unique holiday shopping season

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — For many small businesses, the week prior to Thanksgiving is one of the busiest shopping weeks of the year.

But with fewer shoppers choosing to buy gifts in-person this year, small business owners are being forced to take a new approach to make up for lost revenue.

“That has been a lot of how our business has been in the past,” says Frances Wilson of Global Gifts, in regards to pop-in foot traffic.

But as Black Friday approaches, stores like Global Gifts are adapting to the increasing online consumer trends while competing with the likes of Amazon, Target, and others big box retailers.

“We aren’t seeing necessarily the foot traffic, meaning we have to learn how to adapt,” Wilson said. “That’s always been something that fair trade stores, like us, contend with. But part of what we tell our people here is, we’re selling the story, the background, the impact of that as well.”

For others, growing that e-commerce revenue means relying on repeat customers.

“We’re very much a clientele-based business because we have so many loyal, wonderful customers that have been supporting us throughout this,” Rowe owner Maren Roth said.

But Rowe, a women’s boutique in the Short North, won’t see any Black Friday foot traffic. The boutique is operating by appointments only and running deals online throughout the week to balance what they’re missing in-store.

“We know it’s not going to be anywhere like last year or the years before, but I’m okay with that because I know things are going to get better,” Roth admitted.

That increased web presence is helping long-time businesses like The Book Loft in German Village survive until things do get better.

“We’d get a handful of online orders every week,” said Book Loft manager Glen Welch. “Now we pretty have a shipping center up in our receiving area.”

But when it comes down to cost, small businesses hope shoppers will still choose to shop local when shopping online.

“We try to stay competitive with the pricing, but we get a lot of local support,” Welch adds.

In addition to Black Friday this week, Monday marks Cyber Monday, followed by Local Business Tuesday, and shopkeepers hope consumers will support small stores during this unique holiday shopping season.