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Holiday shopping season interrupted by Arkansas winter freeze

Holiday shoppers from coast-to-coast brave the cold weather to cross the final items off their lists.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Despite the frigid temperatures shoppers rushed to local stores to grab last-minute gifts. 

“We’re just doing the last-minute stuff… stocking stuffers... to equal out the presents between the kids,” said consumer Michael Thomas 

The winter storm did have an impact on the “Kindness and Joy" toy store in Fayetteville, the month of December has been very busy compared to last December when most consumers shopped in October and November due to supply chain concerns. 

“So we’ve seen a lot of that shopping shift to December…so we’ve had a crazy month,” said Co-owner of Kindness and Joy toys - April Spencer.

The National retail federation reports that toys are one of the top gifts consumers are expected to give this year by 37%. 

The owners say the day before the storm brought a rush of shoppers and the company actually had a record number of sales as a result. The store owners report the day after the storm it was back to normal and sales have increased.

“I think what happened is everyone saw that the weather was coming so everybody came the day before. so we had a very good day the day before and then the next day…. just my husband and I came yesterday and worked the store….luckily we only live five minutes from here, so we came and ran the store yesterday—we had a lot of customers but primarily online orders,” Spencer said.

On the other hand, that may not be the same case for other local businesses in Fayetteville.

“So Thursday, we got a bunch of snow in.... we did end up opening at 10 am because we were kind of unsure of the downfall of all the snow, but we ended up closing at noon and I think a lot of people on the strip did as well, just because of the road conditions," Social media manager at Skye on the town- Hannah Delahoussay explained. 

“Skye on the town,” says business has been slower than usual since popular holidays like black Friday and cyber Monday have passed. Traditionally, the store does a "12 days to Christmas" sale where there is a different discount each day. On top of that, the weather slowed things down to where it relies on alternatives-- such as online sales and marking down items in the store to 50%. 

“Hopefully because of the sale, we will get some sales just from people wanting to personal shop, or get something for themselves, or a holiday party just that last minute purchase,” Delahoussay said. 

According to the National Retail Federation clothing and accessories come in at 55% as a "top gift" consumers are expected to give this holiday season.

Both businesses encourage the community to shop local not only during the holiday season but all year long.

“It’s so important to shop local and we’re just so grateful for it,” Spencer said.

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