Students affect local sales

By Jean Dobrzynski

While brave shoppers fought the traditional day-after-Thanksgiving crowds, most local merchants were singing carols alone next to their cash registers.

Many area merchants said whenever NIU students head for their hometowns, holiday or no holiday, their sales usually decrease.

Dave Hunt, manager for Johnson’s Men’s Wear, 216 W. State St., said the store had a lot of browsers, but no dramatic sales increases.

“Our business was about the same as last year,” he said. “Right now we are pretty happy with those figures with the state the economy is in these days.”

He said the media usually hypes up the day after Thanksgiving as the busiest shopping day of the year, but that does not hold true for his store.

“Usually a few days before Christmas is when we really see the sales rise,” he said.

Another local business woman agreed, even though more people were shopping at her store than she anticipated.

There were more customers at Desa’s Vendrome, 130 E. Lincoln Hwy., but more are expected as the Christmas holiday approaches, said owner Desa Henn.

“The last few days before Christmas are really hectic, but last Friday was a fairly good day for us anyway,” she said. “We didn’t have mass crowds, but with the economy the way it is you can’t compare this year to those in the past.”

Sales Clerk Jenny Duffy said sales were down at Keskasay, 817 W. Lincoln Hwy., but she expected it.

“I knew it would be that way because the students were not here,” she said.

One DeKalb merchant said she was optimistic about the upcoming holiday season.

Cindy Wickness, owner of Gouterman Jewelers, 143 E. Lincoln Hwy., said despite the recession, business is better than last year and she only sees it getting better.

“People held off from spending all year,” she said. “At the holidays people still want to buy gifts and they are going to no matter what the economy looks like.”