▶️ Last minute holiday shopping boosts local businesses

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As the holidays draw nearer, Bend businesses are seeing an uptick in customers looking for a last-minute gift or just shopping on their vacation.

“There’s lots of last minute elves scurrying around trying to find holiday gifts,” said Mandy Butera the owner of Wren and Wild in Downtown Bend.

At the Wren and Wild Clean Beauty shop, customers filled the store trying on lip glosses and sifting through skincare products.

Butera told me this is the busiest she’s seen the store in a while.

“Last year, we were very busy online. We had a lot of customer pick-ups at the door or a lot of shipping, and it’s the reverse this year. This year it’s much more in store and a loss less shipping and out the door,” Butera said.

I talked to more than a dozen shoppers in Downtown Bend, and almost half of them were vacationing here for the holidays.

“And then these last couple weeks have just been a madhouse with people downtown and finding parking and finding those last-minute gifts,” said Sage Homan-Muise a salesperson for Wool Town.

Wool Town told me they’ve seen lots of people come through mostly for small gifts and holiday stocking stuffers.

They even decorated their tree outside in a festive knitted sweater to show some holiday spirit.

That spirit keeps on giving with plenty of customers.

“Just today in our first hour we did more sales than sometimes we do all day, especially for a Tuesday that’s pretty quiet,” said Jeremy Brown, a salesperson at Scout and Pine.

The National Retail Federation predicted 148 million Americans would do some last-minute holiday shopping the Saturday before Christmas.

After talking to many Bend businesses, it seems like that rush is continuing into the week as people ditch the online supply chain issues in favor of locally sold gifts.

“It means a lot that people were willing to come locally instead of shop online and definitely help support us,” Homan-Muise said.

If you’re looking to gift locally but aren’t sure what to get, several local stores offer gift certificates and Downtown Bend has its own virtual gift cards redeemable at more than 50 stores.

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