DE PERE, Wis. — For at least one new business in downtown De Pere, it was a good weekend.
Lucky Penny co-owner Sarah Hickey said the traditional holiday shopping season got off to a strong start over Thanksgiving weekend.
“We saw a ton of new faces. A lot of people just coming in and checking it out and actually doing quite a bit of purchasing too,” she said. “It was a great weekend.”
It included both Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, a day aimed at connecting shoppers with locally-owned stores.
Hickey is also-co owner of Hey, Daisy, another boutique store in downtown De Pere.
“We’ve had a really great start to the holiday season at Lucky Penny and Hey, Daisy,” she said. “We’re finding everything very promising both in what we’re hearing people say and what they’re spending, too.”
In numbers released Tuesday, The National Retail Federation (NRF) said about 122 million people shopped in person over the weekend. Nationally, that’s about the same as last year.
More than 200 million people shopped in total. The NRF said that’s a new record.
Kathleen Ratteree, co-owner of Sweet Willow Herbal and Cafe, said that business had a fantastic weekend. It was only surpassed by the end of COVID-19 restrictions.
“We saw a record sales day on Small Business Saturday. Black Friday was also fantastic, but Small Business Saturday was great,” Ratteree said. “People are out shopping. They’re excited and they’re also hungry.”
Sweet Willow is a health and wellness store with groceries and a cafe.
“We were seeing people buying a lot of different tea blends,” Ratteree said. “We have soaps from Floppy Ear Farm. People were buying stocking-stuffer kinds of gifts like bath soaps, shampoo bars.”
Hickey said customer service is one of the cornerstones of the in-person-shopping experience.
“A lot of times, especially this time of year, people don’t really know what they’re looking for. They have a person in mind. With Lucky Penny it’s for younger girls,” she said. “If they’re like, ‘I don’t know what my niece likes,’ we like to think we have a lot of help, different ideas and more of a specialized experience you might not find shopping online or going to a big box store where you can’t find the help.”