The holidays were good to Wilton’s small businesses

The holidays have been good for some of Wilton’s most popular small- and medium-sized businesses, owners and managers across the town report. It seems the town’s residents have taken up the “shop small” concept as a banner of their community, they say.

“My holiday sales have been up from last year,” Megan Abrahamsen of the Blue Star Bazaar said last week. “Obviously, this season is critical for retailers. There are some days in December that have higher revenue than the entire month of January.”

One day that was especially important, she said, was Small Business Saturday, sponsored by American Express.

“It was successful this year,” she said. “That Saturday had higher revenue than Black Friday, when people typically go to big box retailers looking for deep discounts. People had ‘shop small’ in their heads, and many people took advantage of American Express rebates that day by shopping at registered small businesses.”

Nancy Toothaker, of the Open House Gift Shop, said this year her shop saw a stream of both returning customers and new customers.

“Though we certainly have a high rate of returning customers, with smaller gift stores in other towns closing people are seeking out good places to buy gifts. The reason they come to our store is because we have unique gifts, things they can’t find online,” she said.

In terms of popular items, Ms. Toothaker said battery-operated candles, gifts with Christmas motifs, and women’s accessories have all done very well.

She’s also seen a resurgence in the popularity of picture frames.

“It’s a miracle anyone gets anything printed out anymore,” she said laughing. “But it’s nice, because online, unless you click on it, you don’t see it.”

The Village Market

At Wilton’s own Village Market, holidays have also had a positive influence.

“So far, we’ve had a really strong Thanksgiving, and so far everything is pointing toward a good holiday season for us. Between Small Business Saturday and having the community feel that Wilton has, everyone has been amazing in supporting us,” co-owner Tim Dolnier said last week.

To return some of that support back to the community at large, Mr. Dolnier said, Village Market has worked hard to team up with local vendors like Ambler Farm and Millstone Farm.

“We love to bring in local bakeries and local vendors with items that are unique to independent grocery stores. With places like Millstone Farm and Ambler Farm here, we’ve been able to piggyback off what they’re doing. We’re always interested in teaming up, whether it’s in Wilton or the general local community,” he said.

In terms of popular offerings for the holidays, the Village Market owner said his store makes sure the classics are always a good value.

“As always, we’ve got filets and a nice selection of products in the meat department at competitive prices,” he said.

“And our scalloped potatoes are always popular. It feels like we’re cooking for everyone in town.”

ShopWiltonCT

Ms. Abrahamsen said a few Wilton retailers have gotten together recently to found a Facebook page called ShopWiltonCT, which looks to connect local businesses with residents.

“We try to post updates on what local shops are offering, [but] if there was someone dedicated to this that highlighted even more about the local businesses, hours and events, it might be nice,” she said.