Holiday spending outloook

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One month from today, many in the Grand Valley will be rising before dawn in hopes of grabbing some of the year's best shopping deals. Meanwhile, business owners hope this holiday season will better than the previous.

The average consumer is expected to spend $582 dollars on holiday spending, according to Accenture's annual consumer holiday shopping survey-- an increase from last year, but not as high as pre-recession spending.

For Mike Allen, owner of Toys for the Fun of It in downtown Grand Junction, the holiday season is a crucial part to his business, accounting for 40 percent of his annual sales.

"The spending trend for the last couple years definitely has been down, but I still think it's going to be a good holiday season," Allen said. "I think people are ready to get out and spend some money."

Allen said consumer confidence has been tentative this year, something he contributed to the upcoming election and current recession.

"Whereas before people might have been spending $20 for a birthday gift, they're now spending $12-15," he said.

While more consumers are expected to cyber shop this season, Leif Johnson with the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce encourages Grand Valley residents to think hard about where they're spending their holiday funds.

"Shop your local target or shop your downtown toy store because those are tax dollars that stay in town and really support the local economy, so that's a win-win situation for everybody," Johnson said.

Even though 53 percent of shoppers are expected to hit the shops for Black Friday, the "shopping holiday" isn't so busy for small businesses.

"The day after Thanksgiving, everybody is at the mall or big box stores," said Claudine Bogart, owner of Frame Depot. "We've tried to do stuff on Black Friday but it never works because people are always everywhere else."

Instead of going after Black Friday shoppers, Bogart is participating in American Express' "Small Business Saturday" on Saturday, November 24.

Whether businesses are preparing for Black Friday crowds, Small Business Saturday, or the holiday season overall, Johnson said he expects it to be a promising one.

"I think there's reason for optimism," he said. "We've seen a lot of new stores opening up, there seems to be a lot of excitement among businesses and from a retail standpoint, I think we should be looking forward to a good Christmas season."

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