ARDMORE, Okla. -- There are just about five shopping days left until Christmas, but with costs of everyday life on the rise many retailers were expecting a blue Christmas. Stores nationwide are reporting lower holiday sales than normal, but that's not the case in Ardmore.
Ardmore's Historic Main Street is home to several smaller, locally-owned stores, and merchants say when it comes to holiday shopping, smaller is better.
"We’re all about customer service. We have jewelers right in this store."
Bob Ward, owner of Ray Ward Jewelers, says individual attention is the reason why his holiday sales for November are 11% higher than normal. So far, his December sales are looking to surpass last month’s.
"You know who you’re buying from, we’re not a chain. We’re here if you have a problem, the owner is here to handle it."
Ardmore Main Street says its smaller shops like ward's that boost the local economy. Officials from the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce say last year Ardmore raked in $42 million in retail revenue.
Gary Stephens owns the Flaming Tongue Hot Sauce Shop. He says his hot sauce is selling faster than he can restock. Stephens says shoppers are drawn to the local flavor, and they will sometimes come in and drop $200 on the sauce alone.
"Sales have really risen in last two months. A lot of people are using them for stocking stuffers."
Stephens says November sales are up 50% from November last year, and his December sales have already tripled.
Just like Bob Ward, he credits customer service.
"If they come five minutes until six and they are looking around, we will stay open. It’s not that big of a deal. We get their shopping done. That way they have what they need. We sell what we can."
The city's total holiday revenue will not be available until the end of January 2008, but so far economic officials say the holidays are looking bright for Ardmore.