WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Earlier this month, we told you about obstacles facing downtown retailers. Today, many said the holiday season has brought a boom to business.
Many retailers in downtown Wilmington are closed Sundays, but this week they were open and ready to make those last minute sales.
"We opened earlier than we normally do on Sunday and there were people right away so that was good," said Hannah Yester, manager of Planet downtown.
Yester says more people are making the choice to shop at local stores for many reasons.
"We have a big variety of not just gifts and clothes but locally-made products and just, I think, maybe a homier feel."
Customers i spoke with agree.
"They have better options and better prices and friendlier people to help you," said Katie Sidders.
"Something that you're going to see everybody else wearing around town. And same with the hats and things like that. A lot of them are handmade, which i appreciate," said Jaclyn Schiegner.
"They just have a lot more stuff that you couldn't get at like a mall. You're less likely to give someone the same thing that they've already gotten from someone else," said Kayla Goggin.
Business owners I spoke with say the uptick is encouraging.
"Christmas season is the best season of the year for retailers, said downtown business owner Isaac Lazar. "That decides whether we're profitable or not. And it's been a tough year; there's no question about that."
Lazar says he has hope for a strong finish to the year and every last day counts.
"We're optimistic. We have what people want. And people do come and patronize us. You always see some last minute customers coming trying to buy gifts for their family."
The National Retail Federation says about 17 million Americans will wait until tomorrow to finish their Christmas shopping. So whether you shop locally or at the big box store, you won't be alone.