Small businesses cope with snow and shorter shopping season

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Reporter - Kendall Downing

MARION, Ill. - We're two weeks away from Christmas. Because of the way the calendar fell this year with a late Thanksgiving, you have one less weekend to get your holiday shopping done.

And you might as well cross another weekend off the list. Retailers both big and small took a hit from Winter Storm 2013. It forced some to close early and even take a day off.

But a local small business owner said she may have found a way to buck the trend.

Thought the parking lot's still icy at Perfectly Posh, owner Tresa Sorto said the effects of the weekend storm aren't as bad as she expected.

"It's just getting busier every day," she said.

Sorto and staff closed her boutique on Thursday afternoon and kept the doors shut Friday, too.

"I was afraid it was going to take the whole weekend," she said.

But the snow didn't stop her from working online, trying to peak the interest of the holiday shopper.

"I'm hoping that it didn't damage us. Our website sales pretty much tripled in the time we were closed," she said.

Sorto used social media to display pictures of merchandise, a strategy she claims paid off through the weekend.

"With people being stuck in the house, it may have picked the business up the day after when we were open," she said.

Marion Chamber of Commerce Director Joni Barwick said the ice and snow dampened some small business sales. Those business that didn't miss out are ones like Sorto's with a presence online.

"The small boutique stores, the specialty stores, unless they have a website where they can refer people to online shopping, they may lose the sale," said Barwick.

Sorto said she's hopeful this slip in the holiday shopping season won't be a setback after all.

"I knew I had to keep the word out there for us," said Sorto.

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