JACKSONVILLE, Or.- Many of the stores in downtown Jacksonville rely on major tourist events for a financial boost.
But with Britt canceled this year, and tourism down, they are hoping for a strong end to a tough year.
Now, they’re now figuring out new ways to reach their customers ahead of holiday shopping.
“About fifty percent of what we would normally do, having no tourists this summer, no Shakespeare festival, no Britt festival,” said “Pico’s” owner Michael Richardson.
Without major tourist draws to the area, Jacksonville businesses are working extra hard to make sure the holiday season is profitable. Richardson believes the capacity limitations and the lack of usual tourists will impact their typical shopping crowd.
“I cant see how we would do what we normally do at Christmas but we are at least hoping it’ll be reasonable,” he said.
“The Crown Jewel” owner Jason Robinson worries that many people may not even come out to shop this year due to COVID.
“The thing that concerns me the most is people thinking that businesses like mine will be closed and we’re not. We’re open!,” Robinson said. But both businesses owners have embraced a different outlet for their customers- the internet.
“Our website has been a really helpful pillar to our business, especially this year,” said Robinson. According to the owners, their websites have helped curtail the negative impacts of the pandemic.
“It took a while before it picked up, but it did pick up. And we’ve been doing online business more than we would ever do ever since,” “Pico’s” Richardson said. But not everyone has an online presence.
Erika Bishop bought Jacksonville staple, “The Pot Rack”, two months ago.
“This puts me at a disadvantage because the owners here never built a website and never did social media,” Bishop said.
“the Pot Rack”‘s longtime fans from outside the area are still finding ways to make purchases.
“They’ve called and they’ve still ordered their favorite things, and we are happy to ship. So I realize because we have that kind of fanbase outside of the valley, that we absolutely have to do it, and they’ve asking for it,” Bishop explained.
Bishop’s website isn’t launching till the spring, so for now she’s focused on social media.
“Packages, specials, gift things, gift baskets going on sale,” said Bishop about her online promotions. All these small business owners are going the extra mile for customers this crucial holiday season.
“We’re gonna have a mix of in person, online, phone in, delivery, curbside. Whatever works for people,” said Robinson.
The Victorian Christmas season in Jacksonville will kick-off with a virtual caroling & tree lighting on Saturday, November 28th. You can find it at the Jacksonville, Oregon Facebook page.
Grace Smith is a reporter for NBC5 News. The Chicago native is a recent graduate of the University of Miami with a Communication Honors degree specializing in Broadcast Journalism. She minored in Creative Writing and focused her senior thesis on social media usage and engagement. During her time at the University of Miami, she anchored multiple award-winning student television programs, covering everything from music festivals to the Super Bowl.
Though she loved Miami's beaches, she's thrilled to be in the Pacific Northwest where she can experience all four seasons and have a real Christmas tree! When she’s not at work, you can find Grace glued to any television showing live sports (especially if it’s the Chicago Bears) or attempting a new recipe as she learns to cook.