As the holiday season kicks off, experts say that consumer confidence is at a nine-year high. According to the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, the score is up nearly eight points at 107.1. According to the board, this confidence translates into increased spending.
Early numbers from the National Retail Federation would suggest this is true, they project a 3 million shopper increase for the weekend following Thanksgiving. In Central Texas, local business owners say they also noticed an increase.
Spice Village has been in Waco for more than nineteen years and owner Jennifer Wilson has seen her fair share of holiday shopping but this weekend was one of her best. "It was a fabulous weekend- terrific traffic, it wasn't just our normal Waco people. We had a lot of travelers coming through on both Friday and Saturday," Wilson said.
And Spice Village is just one of the businesses reaping the benefits of increased consumer confidence. According to the National Federation of Independent Business - 112 million people participated in Small Business Saturday - up 13 percent from last year. Not only were more people out shopping, Wilson said she noticed an increase in purchasing.
"We've seen an increase in what people are spending, dollar wise, the average ticket price is a little higher than what we've seen in the past. So I think people are a little more comfortable with spending and buying," she said.
The Greater Waco Area is home to over 14,000 businesses and 60 percent of them are considered small businesses said Kris Collins, Senior VP of Economic Development for the Waco Chamber of Commerce said.
For every dollar spent at a small business, it has a spin-off effect locally, "Not only are they supporting their local employees and creating additional payroll dollars for their community, but that goes into the ability of people to buy homes and generate additional sales tax in the community," Collins stated.
In addition to the economic benefits of shopping locally, Wilson says buyers can go home with something a little more special. "The specialty of the item is that it's not just something you're going to find anywhere else because it's locally made by a local artisan."
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