Downtown retailers report brisk Christmas shopping season

Published 5:02 pm Tuesday, December 26, 2023

NATCHEZ — Retailers in downtown Natchez report having a very brisk shopping season.

“Christmas was very good. Traffic was very brisk. We are very thankful,” said Darby Short, who owns Darby’s gift shop and Darby’s Furniture and Interiors. “It was a happy time.”

She said the furniture was “quieter than the gift store, but that’s just to be expected in that business. Everyone is concentrating on buying small gifts.”

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Darby’s sales leader was, as has been in the past, its fudge.

“The fudge was pretty crazy this year,” she said. “We are just so appreciative of everybody, everybody who shopped local. We are very thankful for that. We only hope we were able to take care of everybody.”

Susan Vigil, who along with her husband Tom, own and operate Franklin Street Relics, said the vendors in that store had “a great December.

“It started off a little slow, but it just steady kept picking up until we had a great month,” she said.

Franklin Street Relics hosts 52 vendors in its 28,000 facility.

However, Vigil called this year’s customers’ buying habits a bit unusual.

“Customers really were not into buying Christmas decors this year, but they bought everything else. I’ve worked many Christmases, and it was really a different year,” she said. “I sold my first nativity scene about a week and a half ago. Typically, we have sold one every one we had. This year, you couldn’t give them away. Several of us have talked about this this year. It was just the craziest thing.”

Franklin Street Relics is open seven days a week at 512 Franklin St.

“Everybody compliments me and my husband on being open on the weekends and Sundays. We have a little bit of everything here. It really makes me and my husband feel good,” she said.

Kaelin Daye, who owns A Gallerie at the corner of Main and South Pearl streets and Kaelor and Co., at 512 Franklin St. with partner Taylor Cooley, said sales this year at A Gallerie topped those of last year.

“I kind of felt like downtown traffic was a little slower than expected,” Daye said. “But our December was better than last year, so I can’t complain.”

It was the first Christmas season for Kaelor and Co., which opened in mid-September of this year.

“We don’t really know how to compare it to anything, but being it’s our first year, we were happy with it. We set a goal for ourselves for December and we are pacing to hit that goal, so that’s a win in my book,” Daye said. “Next year will really be the test for Kaelor and Co.”

Popular items this year, she said, were boots, basic tops, “those that you can layer and go with anything. And people loved to buy puffer vests,” she said.

“As always, we had a lot of return local customers. That’s one of the most important things we can do is attract local, return customers. We had lots of familiar faces, which is very good.”