BOISE, Idaho — For the second Small Business Saturday during a pandemic, many Boise store owners were surprised to see the day's turnout.
“We were stunned kind of. Throughout the day, we just kept going 'Wow, it is staying busy and it was pretty astonishing,” said Glenn Newkirk, co-owner of The Record Exchange in downtown Boise.
Comparing 2021 and 2020's Small Business Saturday, The Record Exchange saw a 59% increase in sales. Compared to a pre-pandemic year in 2019, sales still grew by 28% in 2021.
The locally owned book store called Rediscovered Books has also seen a 10% increase in sales.
“We didn't have a vaccine last year, cases were really high so everyone was limiting numbers and requiring masks. We limited last year any more than 10 customers in the store at one time,” said Bruce Delaney, owner of Rediscovered Books. “It’s shaping up to be a very good holidays season.”
While people were stuck at home during the pandemic, Newkirk and Delaney said interest in books and music increased, contributing to the elevated sales.
“People just want to get out and shop but there’s also a resurgence in vinyl and I think in music in general," Newkirk said. "A lot of people discovered it during the pandemic sitting at home, listening to music, buying [a] turntable."
Store owners credit the community for being able to keep their doors open and stores operating. However, both admit that they are feeling the brunt of the supply chain issues, and ask for the public's patience this holiday season.
“Supply issues, trying to keep the shelves stocked with everything from t-shirts to records to turntables," Newkirk said. "I mean, there’s shortages everywhere, supplies and materials, so something we won't be able to get back in or even get in before Christmas."
If shoppers have a particular book they want to gift this season, Delaney said they should plan ahead and purchase their item sooner rather than later.
“We are doing our best to keep the shelves stocked and getting everything in that we anticipate they will want, but we can't get all those things," Newkirk said. "We will have a lot of other things that might fill the void for them."
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