NOVEMBER’S RAINS DID NOT KEEP TOURISTS AWAY – The steady drizzle last weekend might have slowed but did not stop folks from coming to La Conner and walking its downtown streets. It was wet, it was dreary, it is getting dark early and still the shoppers came. That is exactly what merchants want and need. 	                                                                                                                                            – Photo by Ken Stern
NOVEMBER’S RAINS DID NOT KEEP TOURISTS AWAY – The steady drizzle last weekend might have slowed but did not stop folks from coming to La Conner and walking its downtown streets. It was wet, it was dreary, it is getting dark early and still the shoppers came. That is exactly what merchants want and need. – Photo by Ken Stern

Pac Nor Westy owner Rich Murphy agrees with La Conner Chamber of Commerce Director Heather Carter: the Jingle Belles Ladies Night of Shopping the week before Thanksgiving brought out shoppers. That night makes Carter optimistic. “Projections look great for holiday 2021!” she wrote in her email response to a Weekly News survey to businesses. Murphy has watched folks start their holiday shopping much earlier this year.

Christi King has seen steady business since Labor Day at her Tillinghast Postal & Business Center. She had a strong 2020 since the coronavirus pandemic led to increased needs for shipping packages. Sales are matching last year’s.

Ted Furst, majority owner of Nell Thorn, has seen his restaurant have a good fall, also and is projecting a strong December if the weather cooperates.
The Slider Café’s Pat Ball agrees. His breakfast and lunch spot has experienced increasing customer traffic this fall. He believes this month will beat 2020.

For Pam Fields of La Conner Coffee, she has all the customers she can handle solo. Her struggle has been an inability to find employees this fall.

These merchants agree that this year’s holidays provide hope they could not generate in 2020. Carter remembered “the masses were discouraged to gather for celebration.”

With indoor dining shuttered in mid-November, Furst termed December a year ago “pretty grim.” 

Murphy recalls the delays and shortages due to shipping and logistics challenges, which has not changed. “Since over 95% of our goods are made in the USA, we haven’t experienced as many of the supply chain issues,” he added. 

Furst reports the attitudes of owners and Nell’s staff alike are much improved, though “the prices of our raw materials have been on a (mostly up) rollercoaster.”

Only Fields has staffing problems, though Ball is concerned about having sufficient help in the spring.

Ball sees “people are more relaxed, used-to, or confident where we are today with covid versus last year.” Like other businesses, Slider’s is able to invite customers in to fill all the café’s seats, since reduced occupancy mandates have ended. That improves Ball’s attitude and “only helps people relax and enjoy,” he wrote.

King appreciates her staff and the positive attitude of the entire community.

Carter is encouraging ShopLocal with the Chamber’s Frequent Shopper Cards promotion. Murphy agrees: “We encourage everyone to shop early this year and to support small businesses!”