TWIN FALLS — While plenty of people are focusing on celebrating Thanksgiving with friends and family, some may shift focus toward holiday shopping.
Although many people will be heading to large store brands, local store owners here in Twin Falls want to remind residents of the value of heading downtown and seeing what it has to offer.
“You’ll find things in there that you are never going to find in the big box stores, and you’ll find your neighbors there, and it’s fun,” said Tom Ashenbrener, the owner of Rudy's A Cook's Paradise.
Shopping local is already important in its own way since it supports local families, yet is also a driving force to our local economy.
“The money that’s generated here stays in the community," said Ashenbrener. "It stays in the local banks as opposed to being pulled off into the big corporate banks.”
As the holiday season ramps up and people are aiming for those big-time discounts, things may seem more normal this year compared to last as to how local shops are fairing off. However, some shops are still dealing with the effects of the pandemic.
“I think people think that life has gotten kind of back to normal, especially in our small towns, but it hasn’t, and a lot of people are still recovering," said Kindsey Taylor, the owner of Brass Monkey. "We’re also all on edge a little bit; we just never know when the rug is going to get pulled out from us.”
Fortunately, despite their struggles, many shops are seeing new customers coming to their stores due to the rapid growth that has occurred in Twin Falls over the past year.
“There’s a lot of people that like to shop local and like to be tactile shoppers and see, and feel, and touch, and also just like to explore what Twin Falls has to offer," said Taylor. "They also have families coming to visit them, especially for the holidays. So that’s even more new people to come here.”
Although stores are seeing new customers, many owners feel it is too difficult to tell how this holiday season will turn out. To try and encourage more people to at least check out downtown, shop owners are reminding residents of the benefits of going to a store and not having to worry about shipping.
“You don’t have the benefit or the certainty of ordering online that it’s going to be here in two days or a week," said Taylor. "It could be here in a month and so I think that’s really important to show you, to push you to shop local and get it now while you can.”
Again, many shop owners cannot predict what this season will look like, but one thing they can guarantee is a much more personal shopping experience than what you would get at larger chains.
“If you look around in here right now, there are people running into each other that have the chance to congregate in the corner and they haven’t seen them for a year, and you get the kids coming back from college," said Ashenbrener. "All of that stuff makes downtown a sense of place and the heart of the community.”