Residents pay holiday visit to businesses in downtown Midland

Tis the season to support local businesses and small businesses.

The Midland Downtown Business Association invited residents and visitors to shop and support the Midland community at their annual Open House Nov. 11-12. The Brush Monkeys were there. Midland Downtown businesses are officially decked out and prepped for the upcoming holiday sales. Pedestrian traffic was heavy.

Businessmen and vacationers gathered to share their time and money in downtown Midland.

Megan Ellis only had a 15-20 minute break between visitors during her managerial shift at Ways to Wellness. She said people were “actually” buying items, such as crystals and essential oils, for gifts. People could have signed up just to participate in a prize opportunity for the promotion of the association.

Each participating store had a Christmas wreath decorated with its own unique items to give away to shoppers who entered to win. About thirty companies present tables of the Ann Arbor based painters.

Upstairs, Holiday Open House guests were treated to new merchandise, holiday items, special services and various menu items to get the holiday spirit going. Ellis, who is also a Reiki practitioner, said a vacation line from a popular brand called ZUM was one of the special features.

Heather Welch, director of Aviator Cookie Company, had made about 100 transactions by Saturday afternoon. She said many people filled out a raffle form. Some did the raffle and purchased items; some don’t.

“We’re seeing pretty steady foot traffic,” Welch said. “We sold a lot of specialty cookies. For some reason our lemon cookies almost disappeared. I sold a lot of half dozen (Saturday) today.”

These are usually popular, but during the holiday season the company aims to sell bundles of gift cards. Saturday afternoon, no gift card had been purchased. Welch said there are plans to promote the bundles again as Thanksgiving and Black Friday approach.

The Grape Beginnings Winery was so busy that the owners declined an interview due to lack of staff on Saturday.

Some locations include the following:

  • Ace Hardware & Sports
  • Aviator cookie company
  • Bristar
  • Coyer Candle Co.
  • Hemp craft company
  • Gift of Hope Shop
  • Grape Cellar Beginnings
  • health hut
  • Heather and Holly
  • Imagine that!
  • Happy tantrum
  • Little Forks Outfitter
  • Molasses Smoker
  • Peel ‘n Pare
  • pizza maker
  • Sam’s Pizza
  • good taco
  • road to serendipity
  • Three Bridges Distillery and Tasting Room
  • twice is good
  • Paths to well-being
  • Willow Classic Women’s Clothing

Arielle Roth Photography

Photo provided/Arielle Roth Photography

Holiday Sales Versus Discretionary Withholding on Expenses

To ease some of the holiday stress, the downtown association suggests developing a wish list at participating retailers.

Prior to the holidays, hemp and other products sold at Craft Hemp Company were more likely to be purchased as discretionary spending. The national impacts apparently changed how typical customers spent overall from August to October.

Despite the various sales and promotions, owner Steve Scott said Friday and Saturday sales were lower than the average sales on those days. He said the economy, recession, inflation and gas prices have recently had negative influences on his clients’ portfolios.

“With a store like mine…I’ve noticed that our sales have slowly started to go down and I think it’s a product that’s not a necessity for most people,” Scott said. “So it’s easy to cut.

“I totally understand where people are right now. Sometimes we have to cut things that just aren’t necessary for us because we just need to be able to get through the day,” he continued.

Elisha A. Tilghman