NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The Holiday in the Pines Junior Forum event provided a perfect spot to test the waters for holiday buying. There were eighty vendors under one roof wanting to hear customers say, "Yes, I like that. I'll take that," as one Center shopper did.
Making a sale is the goal. Vendors, just back from market, must move their inventory. Tentative shoppers can be nerve wracking. "We are doing really more than what we did last year, so less than maybe years in the past, but we're doing really good this year," said Glenda Hinson, Longview owner of Polka Tot Boutique.
The challenge is two fold for manufacturers. Jill Carter makes soup and dip mixes that are sold at market. Customers are hungry for the convenience, but retailers are buying conservatively. "I think the economy has made the difference in all of the them and their buys. I know that some of my small stores aren't in business any more," shared Carter, owner of Mills Gourmet in Lindale.
An up and down market can lead to a supply issue. All those spices and herbs Jill puts into her mixes come from around the world. Bulk suppliers aren't keeping the ingredients on hand. "they're not setting on their inventory as much as they have in past years, so yes, we've had to wait," explained carter.
For over 40 years Red Jones has peddled his wares. The former principal knows 'the principal of it' (the name of his Houston shop) when talking about holiday economics. "You don't make any money unless you turn it over and sell it. You have to price it cheap enough to sale and yet enough to make your money out of it, but you can't get rich off of it," advised Jones.
Vendors report good sales. Some already know what they'll do with their profits. After making a sale Hinson said, "Great. My grand kids will have a really good Christmas."
The National Retail Federation is forecasting a 2.3 percent increase in sales for November and December, that won't make for a spectacular Christmas for retailers, but it'd be a lot better than recent ones.