Simplified: Between the snow, ice, winds and frigid temperatures, the last couple of weeks have been not-too-fun to navigate in Sioux Falls. That's keeping more folks inside during what's usually among the busiest time of year for local businesses.

Why it matters

  • Local retailers rely on holiday shopping. Some businesses see up to 40% of their sales happen in the last three months of the year, said Nathan Sanderson, executive director of the South Dakota Retailers Association.
  • Winter weather hits some local businesses harder than others, Sanderson added. Restaurants, for example, can't make up for lost revenues if they need to close for the weather. Retailers have a better chance of seeing folks come back in when things clear up, but even then, slower weeks still hurt.
  • Sara Jamison, owner of Terra Shepherd Boutique & Apothecary in downtown Sioux Falls, said she her shop saw a 20% decline in sales last week compared to the same time frame last year.
"For better or worse, many small businesses rely on this time of year," Jamison said. "We take a huge hit when Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate."

Why is this time of year so important for businesses?

There are two big reasons:

  1. Retailers count on end-of-the-year spending to hit their revenue goals for the year.
  2. They also count on a busier December to shore up some stability ahead of a typically slower January.
"Our year-end sales are crucial for putting us in a good position for the months ahead," Jamison said.

How can I help?

If you haven't finished your holiday shopping, consider keeping your spending local.

Every purchase makes an impact, Jamison said.

"That 'shopping local' message sometimes seems trite," Sanderson said. "But if you support local businesses, local businesses are more able to give back to their communities."