Coast retailers hoping for a merry shopping Christmas

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - By Doug Walker – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - At Kathleen's Fiber Arts, owner Kathleen Brown is hoping to weave some magic when it comes to her customers.  Her store offers what she calls "one of kind gifts." Despite the battered economy, she said things are beginning to look up.

"So far, in the last couple of months, it's been getting better every month. So I'm hoping for a better Christmas," Brown said.  "I've been in business for a year and a half, so this is my second Christmas and I'm hoping it's going to be a good one."

At Bayou Bell, Julie Homes is doing some shopping.  But cutting back is now the norm for her family.

"Well, it's all about the kids this year," Homes said.  "We'll just be buying for the kids and it has been a tough year."

So what's the secret to success during a busy Christmas shopping season? Business owners say customer service is what makes the difference. Bayou Belle owner Barbara Capalbo couldn't agree more.  It's what makes her business stand out.

"You need to be friendly, you need to greet your customers, you need to get whatever they want, if you possibly can. We do alterations here, we do gift wrap, and we're friendly."

At Art & Soul, owner Tori Taranto Davidson is getting in the holiday spirit.  She's optimistic that people are ready to leave the bad times behind, ready to put a little more cheer into their lives.

"I think we're going to see that people are ready to get out, people are ready to come out from under whatever they've been under and support the local businesses and support the community."

Most retailers agree, price is the biggest selling point this year, and all we talked to have plans to hold big sales to kick off the shopping season.

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