Stores work to attract holiday customers during age of online shopping

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - When everything is done electronically, it can be hard to get people to come into a physical store to do their holiday shopping. But local stores say the key is to stay unique.

“It is a challenge to get people into the stores,” Julie’s Xpressions Owner Julie Ochsner said. “Our Christmas season actually starts in August where most people start right after Thanksgiving and ours are people making items and things.”

Julie's Xpressions sells beads and other craft supplies. Ochsner says her store holds items people often can't find anywhere else and that keeps them coming back.

Gary Michael's Clothiers has been in business for 35 years. Most of their business is brought in through word of mouth.

“I think just because we are part of the community, obviously we give back to the community, the community needs us to be here,” Gary Michael’s Clothiers Owner Trish Ludemann said.

Businesses say it has been tempting to want to change with the trends over the years but sticking to their roots has kept loyal customers interested in their products. Some owners believe some have started to get turned off to online shopping.

“In our particular business, it's more of a trend to come back in,” Ochsner said. “Maybe 10 years ago people were doing a lot of shopping online for our type of items. Now they're coming back because they might say 'oh we ordered something and we didn't get the color we wanted.’”

Owners say people like to be able to see first hand what they are getting and making personal connections with them is what will keep them going.