Woman shot by neighbor in Spring Garden Township dies

Downtown York shops get a boost from ... Cyber Monday?

Julia Scheib

Rebecca Wattenschaidt said she offered her online customers free shipping and 10 percent off their entire order for Cyber Monday, the day online retailers hope for website-crashing virtual crowds of customers.

Wattenschaidt, who owns Elizabeth & West Fashion House, 15 N. Beaver St., said she only does "maybe 20 percent" of her business online.

But she wants that to change.

Her in-store Black Friday sales were "pretty decent" — on par with First Friday — and Small Business Saturday was "amazing," she said.

This winter, though, she expects in-store sales to slow down because cold weather makes people reluctant to shop downtown. "People don't want to be outside," she said.

Her goal for the winter, she said, is to grow her web presence to offset that winter drop in sales.

Double dipping: Wattenschaidt isn't the only downtown merchant cultivating an online presence, said Meagan Feeser, marketing director for Downtown Inc.

Feeser is conducting a survey to measure the economic impact of Small Business Saturday. The small-business community downtown felt a big surge in sales this weekend — "People make a point of going out" on days like First Friday and Small Business Saturday, she said.

Both Friday and Saturday were good days for downtown businesses, she said Monday afternoon, when she'd heard from about half of the 60-70 merchants surveyed. Businesses reported a 20 percent jump in sales from last year's Small Business Saturday and a 60 percent jump from the previous weekend's sales.

But as shoppers turn to online retail, some downtown merchants are also getting a boost from online sales. The online model isn't for everyone, she said. "I guess it depends who their customer is and how they want to grow their business," she said.

Feeser said that York City Pretzel Co., which she co-owns, began selling pretzels online last week. "The demand was there," she said.

Cyber Monday downtown: Alex Keener, who owns My Girlfriend's Wardrobe, a consignment shop at 41 W. Market St., said Monday afternoon that online sales had been slow so far but she expected them to spike in the evening.

Keener, who started selling online before she opened her store in May 2013, offered free shipping for items purchased on Monday.

"Last year on Cyber Monday, we had quite a few orders," she said. "We had a lot more people shopping Sunday night after midnight, when sales start."

This year, her online sales have been up throughout the weekend, she said.

Keener said she does one-third to one-fourth of her sales online.

Other merchants were happy about online sales, but gushed about in-store sales on Friday and Saturday.

"Oh my gosh, it was phenomenal," said Joan Bainbridge, a salesperson at Kimman's Co., 57 N. Beaver St., of Small Business Saturday. "We had a record day — no, it was a record weekend!"

Small Business Saturday "was probably two times better than it was last year," Bainbridge said, and this Black Friday outdid last year's as well. Even in-store sales on Monday were much better than they normally are.

Kimman's has an online store, and traffic is higher than usual there, too, though they're not running any special sales, she said.

Zarah Brooks, who owns Indigo Bleu, 39 W. Philadelphia St., said her website is only about four months old. She's had her store since July 2014 and started selling items online to reach more people and provide customers with a convenient alternative way to shop.

On Monday, Brooks, who carries about 15 clothing brands and a selection of accessories, offered a $20 discount for online orders over $100 and $40 off purchases over $200.

Cyber Monday had been going well so far, she said. And she saw a jump in online sales this weekend.

But she sounded much more excited about Small Business Saturday.

"There were definitely a ton of people downtown, which was nice to see," she said.

— Reach Julia Scheib at jscheib@yorkdispatch.com.