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Holiday sales strong for Geneseo small businesses, expecting good numbers in 2023

Small businesses said by focusing on value and customer experience, sales were good despite the popularity of online shopping.

GENESEO, Ill. — Online shopping continued to be popular this 2022 holiday season, but some small businesses in Geneseo said they still had strong foot traffic and sales.

WQAD spoke to two clothing stores in Geneseo's shopping district before the holidays: Four Seasons and Katsch Boutique.

Owners from both stores were optimistic of sales going into the holiday season.

Now after the holiday rush, Four Seasons President Katie Kutsunis said her business saw good numbers in part because of the winter weather.

"Shipping became an issue when people were shopping online - so they did turn to brick and mortar stores like Four Seasons to do some shopping," Katie said.

She explained that while the extreme weather around Christmas slowed down business, customers eventually came out again because they enjoyed spending time together with friends and family.

"I think customers love being in the stores, hearing Christmas music, seeing the decorations and really making shopping a true experience," Kutsunis said.

But with the new 2023 year beginning, some businesses large and small are already taking measures to cut costs - with fears of inflation and a possible recession meaning that people might shop less.

Both owners are still confident in strong sales this year.

Katsch Boutique Owner Amy DeFauw said her sales were strong this holiday season because customers want the in-person shopping experience of browsing and trying items on. She believes this is one of the ways they will continue to thrive in the new year.

"The customer loves coming in and also getting recommendations because we know our customers so well," DeFauw said. "If somebody wants to buy them a gift, they can ask us for a recommendation and we can find their size or the styles that they may like - so having that in-person interaction really helps versus just pointing and clicking on Amazon."

Amy added that offering customers value is important, not just a cheap price.

"People still need outfits, they still need a blazer to go to a meeting, they still need a dress to go to a wedding," DeFauw said. "The spending will always be there, it's just really delivering the customer what they truly want and need, and great products at the right price as well."

It's a strategy that Katie Kutsunis also follows.

"We work very hard to provide advantageous price points that compete with a big box, but you can get the service and a great item and a great price in a small store," Katie said.

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