COLUMBIA, S.C. — Businesses are expecting to have a successful start to the holiday shopping season this weekend.
Many are hoping Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber-Monday will bring economic relief for them after being impacted last year.
"A lot of businesses really struggled to keep their doors open during the pandemic," said Audrey Delk, manager at Revente. "Last year wasn't too terrible for us. Luckily, we have a good customer support."
Delk said this weekend is vital for businesses.
"People feel a little safer now, they traveled into town to see their families, so hopefully we’ll see a bigger turn out than last year," Delk said. "Our business definitely depends on customers. We have a lot of great customers that have continued to support us, and we just look for that continued support."
The CEO for the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, Bob Morgan said the states economy is still recovering from the pandemic.
"Our economy is stronger and healthier than it was a year ago. Having said that, we are still dealing with challenges related to the pandemic," Morgan said. "The economy is trying to, I think, bust out, but for work force shortages, supply chain issues, inflation, remanence of the pandemic is still holding us back, yet we're seeing growth that far exceeds where we were a year ago."
He adds, there are currently more jobs in South Carolina, than there were pre-pandemic.
"There are 8,000 more people employed in South Carolina today, than pre-pandemic" Morgan said "There are 104 thousand jobs that are unfilled. That represents the strong economy that South Carolina produces. That's a strong signal that South Carolina is poise to grow even stronger in 2022."
Morgan said consumer spending is what's going to help the state rebound. He explains, purchasing anything manufactured in the Palmetto State, or shopping local is going to help.
With COVID restrictions put in place last year, one business owner had to depend on online sales to keep her store open.
"I was so thankful for being able to do that," said Ashley Lindler, owner of 'A Little Happy' a gift shop on Carlisle street in Columbia.
Lindler said she expects this year will be better for her business.
"My customers are what makes this shop go," Lindler said. "People are coming out shopping. I’ve missed smiling faces, I’ve missed having conversations and the relations aspect of everything. I’m just really excited to see people and help them this Christmas."
The National Retail Federation is predicting this years holiday sales could hit up to $859B, which would be a record.