Local businesses did well throughout holidays, look ahead to 2021

Local News

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — With the holiday shopping season wrapping up, many businesses have their sights set on the new year, and what economic climate it will bring.

2020 has been tough on business.

“It has been up and down. There have been times I’ve been optimistic, and then other days I’m a little bit worried.” 

Shawn Schulenberg, co-owner, Nomada Bakery
Shawn Schulenberg (right) says there have been many up’s and down’s this year, thanks to COVID-19. (Photo Courtesy: 13 News Reporter Natalie Wadas)

When one of the biggest shopping seasons rolled around amid the uncertainty of this year, it left some local businesses not sure what to expect.

“Who could see what Christmas was gonna be?” 

Sheila Redling, works at The Red Caboose

Luckily, the Christmas rush seems to have exceeded expectations.

Sheila Redling of The Red Caboose says she didn’t know what to expect over the holidays. (Photo Courtesy: 13 News Reporter Natalie Wadas)

“It was crazy busy. People really doubled down on their commitment to shop local and I think it was our best Christmas ever!” 

Sheila Redling, works at The Red Caboose

These local businesses actually say they attribute their holiday shopping season success to being able to adapt their business models.

“We put our shop online in March when the shut-downs were first beginning, which was really smart because a lot of what we have is so Huntington-centric, that people who don’t live here anymore were able to order.” 

Sheila Redling, works at The Red Caboose
Schulenberg says his bakery received a lot of online pre-orders this year. (Photo Courtesy: 13 News Reporter Natalie Wadas)

“We offered on our website both Thanksgiving and Christmas a bunch of pre-orders… A lot of people did pre-orders so we saw a swamp of people coming in for those…With Christmas, things have been fantastic, and I’m excited about going into January.” 

Shawn Schulenberg, co-owner, Nomada Bakery

For the Huntington Regional Chamber, the outlook for January is slightly less rosy.

President and CEO Bill Bissett says there are a few factors which could play a role in how things go.

“Do students come back to Marshall? How does that population affect us? If the weather’s really bad, that keeps people indoors. Plus, you have that kind of post-holiday shopping lull, and combine all those things with COVID 19 and the uncertainty it brings, that could really affect the local economy.” 

Bill Bissett, president and CEO, Huntington Regional Chamber

Even so, local businesses say they’re still hopeful for a great new year.

“2019 put us in shape, 2020 made us marathon runners, and we’re ready to go for 2021.” 

Shawn Schulenberg, co-owner, Nomada Bakery

“Fingers crossed! Everyone please keep committing to the local businesses, we need you.” 

Sheila Redling, works at The Red Caboose
Businesses did well in the Jewel City over the holidays. (Photo Courtesy: 13 News Reporter Natalie Wadas)

Bissett also says while the holidays went well for many businesses in the Jewel City, it still remains to be seen how New Year’s Eve traffic will be, given all the COVID-19 restrictions.

For more stories from Natalie Wadas, follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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