COLORADO SPRINGS — Higher prices due to inflation and a spike in COVID-19 cases didn't stop people from spending money at local businesses this holiday season.
News5 spoke to storefronts and online businesses about how their business did during the holidays. Overall, many of them said sales were up around the holidays. They matched sales and numbers from 2019 and 2020, and in some cases, even exceeded them.
"Last week was 50% up in sales, so for that one week we were crazy busy," said Mazie Baalman, the owner of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for nearly 20 years.
She says the company owned four stores in 2019, but two stores closed during the pandemic. However, with half the stores, they still beat sales from 2019 and she said it's thanks to people shopping local and shopping small.
"I think there is just a lot of people who do want to help support smaller businesses, and that's very appreciated, and I know myself, I like to do that too," said Baalman. "Especially here in Old Colorado City, a lot of people come down here and bring their friends and family to show them a good time and go shopping. People were just in full shopping mode."
For her shop, the holiday season is also the busiest time of year, so to see large sales, was a Christmas miracle.
"We really had a great Christmas and December. It was up over 20% from last year's sales. People were in a really great mood, and it was a great holiday," said Baalman.
Charae McDaniel, the Chief Financial Officer with the City of Colorado Springs says in October, right before holiday sales picked up, sales taxes were up 15% from October 2020, and 23% from October 2019. Much of that was from supporting small, local businesses.
And according to MasterCard Spending Pulse, reports say online sales during the holidays rose 11% from last year and 61% from 2019.
"Luckily we did get the big bump from the holiday season, so I did see that 25% raise in sales and in traffic," said Nick Bowers, an online business owner. "But I was really curious to see what was going to happen during the holiday season."
Bowers has owned Bowers Splinter Works for six years, and he says last year, he hit record-breaking numbers in sales because many people were online shopping during the peak of the pandemic. But this year, numbers returned to normal and he had 20 to 30% fewer sales than last year.
"We experienced such a big bump during COVID that online retail really went crazy. We really regressed back to the mean this year. It was a lot like the 2019 numbers that we saw," said Bowers.
Bowers says his online business was also hit hard because of inflation this year, but it's thanks to the community's support his holiday sales went well-exceeded expectations.
"I'm always thankful to the local people in Colorado. It was great to have here during the holiday season," said Bowers.
The chief financial officer for the city also said the Colorado Springs economy has been resilient throughout the pandemic. Tourism has just about fully recovered with numbers very close to 2019.