Prineville businesses such as Book and Bean and Temptations were pleased with the level of holiday sales they saw

by: KEVIN SPERL - Book and Bean owner, Joe Becker, looks through his collection of classics that attracted Christmas shoppers to his store.

The holiday season is well-known for special shopping days such as Black Friday, the traditional day-after-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza, and Cyber Monday, the launch of on-line sales' deals.

This year, due to the shortened shopping calendar, Gray Thursday made its debut, as most national retailers opened their doors on Thanksgiving day.

But, for local businesses, like Joe Becker's bookstore, Book and Bean, and Michelle Vail's woman's clothing shop, Temptations, every day is important.

For Becker, the holiday shopping season coincided with the re-opening of his store, located at 396 N. Main St.

"We opened the week before Thanksgiving, after having been closed for seven months," said Becker, "so, this season was not just about holiday sales, but a reintroduction of ourselves to the local buying community."

Just down the street, Vail had relocated her store to 102 N.W. Second St., in early December.

"The move created more foot traffic than I expected," said Vail, "I now see a wider variety of shoppers, ranging in age from eight to 88."

Both owners have made a commitment to downtown Prineville, and depend on, and are grateful for, local shopper support.

And, that means creating a niche that is not available elsewhere.

As a book store, Becker is well aware how online sales, at sites such as, eBay, Walmart, Best Buy, and Target, impact his business.

"As much as there is talk about eBooks, we were concerned about the printed book and how many of them customers would buy," said Becker.

Becker found, however, that carrying a line of vintage, classic, and out-of-print books created a niche market, bringing buyers from as far away as Portland.

"People are beginning to recognize that we have them and have found books here that they couldn't get at Powell's in the city," he said.

Vail's product line includes dresses, pants, and tops, along with jewelry and intimate apparel.

"I've brought in a line of everyday wear with a little bit of flair," she said, "clothes that are fun and affordable, which is my number one priority."

Approaching her third anniversary in business, Vail also sells a lot of gift certificates, especially to male shoppers.

"Christmas Eve was hectic," admitted Vail, "I had a lot of last minute shoppers, mostly guys, saying 'I can't do this, do you just have a gift certificate?'"

For both retailers, overall holiday sales were positive.

Becker said that sales were consistent throughout the holiday shopping season, including the week between Christmas and New Year's.

"Sales were on par with previous years, even though there were major changes to our product line," he said, explaining that he had decided to discontinue a toy line.

For Vail, an expanded product line offered something for shoppers of all ages.

"The eight-year-olds come in for the jewelry and hair accessories," said Vail, "while the older girls shop for the clothes."

Although Christmas was an important sales period for both stores, Vail is looking ahead to her most important time of year, Valentine's Day.

"February is my niche market," she said, "and my biggest sales month of the year."

Becker is encouraged by the local support he has received so far.

"Overall, it was a good season for us," he said, "and we are looking forward to the New Year and what it holds.

Contract Publishing

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