This February is BRUTAL.  I have no better way to describe it.  Brutal.  My cheeks burn on the walk back from the bus.  My pants take on that frozen texture after I’ve run out just to get the morning paper.

I feel completely content to just sit and not GO OUT.  And you can bet that most everyone else in our area feels the same way.

My first year owning the bakery, a fellow Great Harvester said to me, “Forget about January, I always make it through and wonder why I didn’t just close up shop for the month.”  People just don’t shop in January.  Even when I worked for Target, January was a month of talking nicely to all of the employees who just had their hours or jobs cut because of the lag in sales. I was always thankful that 1/3 of those employees had only been hired as seasonal. No matter, the full time positions for the whole store decreased to partial paychecks.  The reason? No one shops in January.

I think this February has just been an extension of that “dead zone.”  I have to admit, I’m the shopper who, when she needs to, will go the extra mile (literally) to support some of my favorite shop owners.  But this winter, I have avoided doing any shopping at all. I just don’t want to get back in the car. I don’t want to climb over the ice unless it’s necessary.

Let me say this:  NO ONE HAS COMPLAINED ABOUT LACK OF BUSINESS.  I haven’t talked to one shop owner who looks scared about their winter sales.  But I would have been.  I might have even had that kind of desperate look on my face when I passed out extra cookies and loaves to the few customers who could stand the extra frigid temperatures.  Because even though sales decrease other factors don’t get a price reduction: heat, gas, rent etc.

I’ve been thankful for Foodie Fest, which has given me an excuse to get out and eat, and party (frankly) for the past few weeks. And of course support some really awesome local owners.

Shopping? Well I have planned as much local shopping as I could.  We had a couple of birthday parties so I made sure to get to Magic Tree Bookstore.  And I made sure to treat the kids to local Valentines. I needed shower soap, so I picked some up at Green Home Experts. I did some shopping at Trader Joe’s even.   

I have been tempted this past week to visit a tanning booth. AND I still might. Don’t judge. I have no plans to get out of town for a warm weather retreat. Twenty minutes in a tanning booth might be all the UV I’ll be getting for 4 more weeks. I can handle that health risk. I”ll put a bandaid on my mole.

Maybe after I have pretended to have the sun on my face for just a bit, I can brave the last few weeks of this winter weather.  Maybe I can encourage us all to get to back to business as USUAL.

All I can hope is that all of us brace against the cold, long block walk to our favorite retailers and make an extra purchase this weekend. Even though they haven’t complained, rest assured, they need our business this winter.  So get out and eat, it’s the final weekend for and get out and shop.  Take an extra minute to smile at our local celebrity shop keepers and know that it matters, your purchase matters.  

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Sarah Corbin

Sarah, a life long Oak Parker, enjoys supporting local small business as much as possible.  With over 20 years in big box and little box retail, she brings a unique perspective to our local business community. ...