While 2020 has been a struggle in many ways, this holiday season seems to have ended on a high note for several Laramie retail businesses.
Rebecca Walsh is the owner of Laramie Basecamp, a small business in downtown Laramie that specializes in outdoor gear and sporting goods. Her store focuses more on skiing and winter sports, and so with the winter comes an increase in business. Therefore, the Christmas holiday season is typically their busiest time.
“During this pandemic, people have rediscovered the joy of being outside,” Walsh said. While many other indoor activities are cancelled at this time, outdoor recreation still remains a safe option. Despite the pandemic, she said that they have not seen much change in their business.
“We sell online and in-store, and we have seen an increase in our curbside pickup and local delivery,” Walsh explained. On the morning of Christmas Eve, the place was still buzzing with people shopping for a variety of items: everything from hats to scarves to skis.
Misty Hester is the owner of Pairings @ Chalk n’ Cheese, another small business in downtown Laramie that specializes in cheese, foods, and wine from around the world. Similar to Laramie Basecamp, Hester’s business appeared to be doing quite well.
Of the 2020 holiday season, Hester said simply, “We are having a great holiday season and we are swamped.”
On the other end of town, Maurices clothing store did better than expected. Abby M. (requested last name not be used) is the part time manager of Maurices in Laramie, and she noted that there was more foot traffic in their store than they anticipated. She did observe that there was less business than is typical for that time of year, likely because the University of Wyoming students were sent home a month early due to the University’s COVID-19 strategic plan. But, she added, things were better than they thought they would be.
“We thought people were going to stay home and maybe save their money,” she said. While they did see less demand for clothing, they were selling large amounts of stocking-stuffer items such as socks, hats, and gift cards.
“A lot of our local people came into the store to shop. We really enjoy seeing our local people because it makes our holiday merrier,” Abby M. said.
Despite the economic downturn that marked much of the year 2020, it would appear that the Laramie community came out to support several of Laramie’s local retail businesses during a crucial time of year for retail sales.