Geneseo small businesses recap 2020 holiday season, finding new practices

Businesses emphasize continued small business support in 2021
Published: Jan. 4, 2021 at 10:29 PM CST
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GENESEO, Ill. (KWQC) - With the holiday season officially over and with many back at work, it was a quiet day for small businesses on Geneseo’s State St. Monday, but as stores begin gearing up for Valentine’s day, the message remains the same.

“Shopping in a small store is so important, it’s about an experience as well as finding something unique,” Pegasus owner Katie Kitsunis said.

“Providing the experience that the customer continues to want whether we’re in a pandemic or not,” Village Home Stores co-owner Rob Ries said.

Both small business owners satisfied with how the holiday shopping season went amid the pandemic.

“The holiday season was good, it was a challenge, we really had to reinvent ourselves and makes sure that people had a reason to come and visit our store” Kitsunis said.

For Ries, he saw new trends emerge this past holiday and over 2020 that he thinks will become more and more normal as time moves on.

“I think it’s a trend that’s probably even, once COVID is over, that’s something we’re going to see continue, people are getting in the habit and getting more comfortable making large ticket purchases online and I think it’s something that they’re finding to be very convenient,” he said, “The in-store purchase isn’t going away but the online transactions are definitely growing.”

“Another thing we’re seeing a lot of is the curbside pickup, you know we sell a lot of smaller items whether it’s detergent or water filters or whatever it may be and it’s awful convenient for people to just order it online or call in and order it then have it dropped off in their car window when they pull up out in front of the store,” Ries continued.

The pandemic also changed the needs for customers according to Kitsunis.

“Our kitchen items have been especially good during the pandemic because people are at home cooking more and so they love to get all those fun gadgets which has been really neat,” she said, “We also have cards here and that’s been a big thing because now people are not getting out so it’s nice to be able to send a card to somebody to brighten their spirits, there’s nothing better than to go to your mailbox and not just get your bills.”

In the end, both continue to emphasize supporting small business and expressing optimism in 2021.

“I think 2021 is going to get better bit by bit by bit so everyday we expect better traffic, more sales, and more exciting merchandise for our customers,” Kitsunis said.

“We all need to continue to remember, the small businesses support the local economy and employ a lot of local people and help support a lot of local charities so there’s a lot of reasons to pull for the small business,” Ries said.

“Continue to shop local, our stores need you, and we love our customers,” Kitsunis said.

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