Evanston’s holiday shopping season is underway

A wave of optimism filled the air on a lively shopping weekend. While not all numbers have been tallied yet, business owners and leaders in Evanston said they felt shoppers were out.

Fabrics shown at Sew on Central (1937 Central St.). attributed to him: Manan Bhavnani

“It has been very successful. Reports have come in that our business is really supported by our community,” said Angela Shaffer, CEO of Central Street Evanston.

“Foot traffic appears to be up from last year, but we’re still down from pre-pandemic levels,” said Annie Coakley, the district’s executive director. Mirroring other large cities, Evanston’s downtown area has been slower than other commercial areas of the city to recover from the pandemic’s decline.

Expect more people to shop on Saturdays

It was expected that there would be more foot traffic on Saturday for small businesses than on Black Friday.

People were also looking forward to seeing if their in-store shopping had picked up. You mentioned Adobe Analytics that despite inflation fears, online shoppers netted a record $9.12 billion on Black Friday.

“Everyone is looking to save a little bit,” Coakley said. Despite this, she added, the community is committed to supporting local businesses.

With consumers’ pockets straining, there is more demand for deals, discounts, and offers. Economists, business establishments and retail store owners have been watching trends this weekend in hopes of figuring out what bodes well for the holiday shopping season, especially in light of current inflation picture.

Coakley added that Downtown Evanston offered a $30 Evanston gift card to the first 80 people to spend $100 and turn in their passports, with gift cards quickly grabbed.