Local shops plan for dip in sales after holiday boost

MADISON, Wis. – The holidays are a busy time of year for everyone, including local businesses. After the end-of-year rush, sales can take a dip going into the New Year.

As owner of the new Good Day Shop, Sarah Artz is just getting into the swing of things.

“It’s still so new,” Artz said. “It’s a lot of work, a lot of heart, a lot of unknowns and a lot of risks.”

She started with popup shops before starting the location on Monroe Street in October, now offering “mindfully made home and lifestyle goods.”

“When you shop locally, your impact can compound, especially in our shop. The people we source from are small businesses — a lot of time woman-owned, minority-owned,” Artz said. “They’re sourcing things from other woman-owned, minority-owned conscious suppliers. The money goes to our shop, it goes to those makers, it goes to the suppliers, and that provides for a really healthy local ecosystem.”

Artz said things have slowed down a bit after the first two or three months of business during the holiday season.

“I’m kind of riding the high of how great things were for the holidays,” she said. “I’m also nervous because it will be downtime probably all the way up through November.”

Down the road, co-owner of Orange Tree Imports Carol “Orange” Schroeder has 45 years’ worth of experience staying afloat beyond the holidays.

“There is an art to surviving the entire 12 months of the year, using the strongest months to help support the months that are perhaps not as strong,” Schroeder said.

She doesn’t think of it as a dip in sales in January, rather a boost in November and December.

“I’m an optimist, so I definitely think of it that way, that November and December are exciting,” Schroeder said. “It’s like the playoffs if you’re a sports team, but you have to be training all year round to play every game as well as you can.”

She said that a supportive community of local business owners contributes to everyone’s success.

Joanne Berg, owner of the book store Mystery to Me on Monroe Street, said customers can help during the slow months, too.

“I love everything from the smell of books to talking to customers about books,” Berg said. “If people want their neighborhoods to look nice and feel good and have special spaces, they have to shop local.”

Sales may slow a bit after the fast-paced holidays, but Berg has developed year-round strategies over the past seven years in business.

“They dip a little bit, but people still come in, and we do a lot of events,” she said.

That’s something Artz plans to do as well, making it her resolution to keep things going strong.

“Figuring out how to make the shop meaningful as a part of people’s lives, to provide those things, is challenging, but I’m excited about it,” Artz said.