In addition to visiting my family and friends, the main reason I returned to the states was to help out in our shop during the holiday season.
which seems to have gone strangely missing.
things have been generally okay in our tiny boutique. Slower than last year, granted, but given what I've seen and heard about here ... it could be worse.
Customers, when they do appear, many times spend a half hour or more browsing and then depart with a thanks. Others share what they are seeing out and about this season. A couple yesterday arrived after their fancy brunch in the city. It was at a large hotel in San Francisco, in the best restaurant. They told me 2 tables were occupied in the entire restaurant. This on the Sunday before Christmas, a week-end normally packed everywhere during prior holidays. They had been to the SF Galleria mall and described it as a ghost town.
When I arrived here in Portland, my friend and I visited a large mall in search of some stuff for French friends. Granted, this was still a few weeks before Christmas ... but it was startlingly quiet.
On the other hand, last night I hit a small outdoor shopping area in search of the Apple store ... very popular in these parts and it was fairly bustling.
Most people I speak to are at least uneasy. many are scared of what 2009 will bring in terms of the economy, etc. And yet, I know of many new businesses being launched next year (small bars, restaurants, boutiques, etc.).
Personally, I hope the world's consumers turn away from corporations and big box money-makers and turn back to their smaller, local providers in the community. After all, it appears our friendly government will bail out the big guys.
Its the little guys that need your help. and optimism. and support. If everyone just shuts down, it will be much worse. I say take your budgeted disposable income to your local business owners. with a smile and nod of encouragement. 2010 will come that much more quickly and with a positive bent.