Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor
Service and quality are high on the list of reasons to Christmas shop in Portales this year, according to local retailers.
“Nine out of ten times, when you shop locally, you’re looking at the owner,” Danny Woodward of Woody’s Jewelry in Portales said.
Woodward said in his case, especially, service is the biggest factor when customers make the choice to shop with him.
“I can’t beat them at their game,” Woodward said of mass merchandisers, whose focus is on price. “But I can stock quality merchandise and offer service.”
Portales-Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kim Huffman says another important reason for shopping at home is the benefit it creates for the community’s infrastructure.
“Every time a dollar is spent in Portales a portion is collected in taxes,” Huffman said. “It’s more than just making money for a merchant, it’s what literally builds the city.”
He said tax money is what pays for streets and other city services and amenities.
Huffman says there is no way for him to directly track sales leakage, or sales dollars that leave town, but he has a sense for the impact of local spending power from programs the chamber has undertaken in the past.
In 2002 the chamber had a script program in place called Christmas Cash that could only be spent in Portales. Huffman said that year $180,000 in Christmas Cash was used. The program was discontinued in after 2003, primarily because of cost.
“That gives us an idea of the kind of money in circulation through town,” Huffman said. “We’re talking about $200,000 to $300,000 circulating.”
Huffman says Portales is a city with a strong sense of community that is good on volunteerism and pride.
“If people understood how much difference it makes, they would do it (shop locally) out of a sense of community pride.”
At Roberts TV and Appliance on South Avenue C, Corey Baca was busy on the sales floor Tuesday afternoon. The store is also a Radio Shack dealership and the salesman said the hot items this season have been IPods, and toy robots called Robosapiens and Roboraptors.
“It actually started picking up today,” Baca said of the Christmas business in the store. “It’s better than last year, our numbers are up.”
Baca said at Christmas Radio Shack is the big draw for the store, owned by Robert Encinias, but they also sell televisions, furniture and appliances.
“We carry the same things as all those stores, but we’re here in town. “We’re local shopping,” Baca said, when asked why people should shop at home.
At NoWhereElse, a new gift shop downtown, Tressie Stroud and daughter Donna Hayman are building their niche through convenient hours, including staying open until 6:30 p.m. and even opening Sundays.
“So far it’s kinda slow, but I think it’s going to pick up,” Stroud said.
The pair also say that variety and uniqueness are what they’re hoping will get locals shopping in their store.
“Everybody comes in with a different idea,” said Hayman.
“It’s really going real well,” Allen Roberts, manager at Trader Horn True Value said. “We don’t live and die by Christmas like some stores, but it’s been good.”
Roberts said his November was up and so far December is looking strong.
“The biggest deal is not just supporting the local economy,” Roberts said about shopping at home. “But if you have any problems we’re right here. If you order something over the Internet (and you have problems) sometimes it’s just too bad, so sad.”
Woodward says business for him has been good all year, including the start of the Christmas season but he’s bracing for that last-minute rush.
“I can tell you also that anytime Christmas comes late in a week (this year it’s Sunday) we’ll have lots of late shoppers, Woodward said.