PETOSKEY -- Northern Michigan's recent shot of wintry weather may have felt chilly on the skin, but several local retailers believe the conditions helped to warm up their Thanksgiving holiday weekend sales.
David Meyer, co-owner of Meyer Ace Hardware, said the cooler, snowy weather that arrived shortly after Thanksgiving seemed to boost interest in the local chain's offerings such as snowblowers and ice-melting agents. Other houseware and hardware lines -- especially those with sale prices -- also did well at the Meyer stores through the traditional kickoff weekend for the holiday season, with Meyer noting that overall sales were up compared to the 2011 Thanksgiving timeframe.
Meyer Ace operates two hardware stores in Petoskey, as well as locations in Harbor Springs and Gaylord.
At The Outfitter, a Harbor Springs shop specializing in clothing and equipment for outdoor sports and activities, owner Josh Baker said the cooling temperatures seemed to drive some purchases of cold-weather clothing.
"People tend to wait until the last minute," he said. "When it's cold, they can't find their gloves, and we're here for them."
Baker said his store posted a good sales performance for the weekend overall, with customers in good spirits and winter sports equipment -- such as cross-country skis and snowshoes -- also selling well.
Mary Faculak, owner of the EJ Shop sportswear store in East Jordan and Mary's of Boyne women's clothing shop in Boyne City, said sweaters and other warmer clothing items proved popular with customers through the holiday period, which she said yielded good sales results on par with last year's.
Faculak, who's also president of the East Jordan Chamber of Commerce, added, "I also think you're seeing a heightened awareness of people wanting to support the small businesses in their local communities."
Matt Norcross, owner of Petoskey's McLean and Eakin Book Sellers, believes the "Small Business Saturday" promotion offered by credit card provider American Express tended to help shops like his. When cardholders shopped at stores like his that had registered for the promotion, Norcross said they could earn rebates on their purchases.
McLean and Eakin's decision this year to offer "Black Friday" sale pricing for the first time -- with discounted pricing on electronic book readers -- also seemed to help sales, Norcross added.
"We had a fantastic Friday-Saturday combo," he said. "It was one of the best that we'd had in the last three or four years."
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