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Thriving holiday businesses struggling

A pair of local businesses that usually thrive during the holiday season are not experiencing their usual Christmas sales boost, attributing the slowdown to rough economic conditions.

The Paint Depot and Creative Tiles have seen business slow down during the past few months, a period where Bahamians shop at the stores to purchase goods for their annual home renovations. Owner of Creative Tiles Kevin Ferguson toldGuardian Businessthat there is a noticeable difference in sales compared to last year, saying economic factors played a part in that decline.

“Things are real slow but I am surviving,”Ferguson said.”It isn’t easy around this time because people are not spending as much as they are used to, and that’s understandable given the current economic situation.”

Ferguson also said he noticed a certain trend with customers over the past few months where in years past they would purchase enough material for a large project, but now consumers are buying in smaller quantities, which he said is being done probably to reduce expenses.

“We’ve seen people scaling back a lot because I remember when people were getting bathrooms and other areas done at one time, but now people are doing smaller jobs now,”he said.”People are focusing on the necessities right now and if it’s something they can’t afford in their budget or not immediately needed then they probably won’t do the project they might want to do.

The Paint Depot has also recognized this trend, with store manager Janice Jolly saying the usual holiday rush is absent this year, pointing to Bahamians having tighter budgets and only purchasing paint for projects that need attention.

“Business has been steady, but it’s not as busy as we have anticipated, but the usual boost in business we usually see isn’t there,”Jolly said.”In years past we have customers usually buying paint for their homes, but now they are just touching up a few areas. The economy definitely had an effect on our business but we managed to remain consistent all year.”

Both businesses are optimistic that business will pick up in the few weeks before Christmas and are hoping that customers are leaning towards doing last minute shopping. Ferguson said his company’s reputation as a tile retailer in the country will hopefully be a key factor in a boost in business.

“I have been in this profession for a long time and worked with small and large clients on various projects,”he said.”My longevity in this business is important during this stage and I am confident that it will create more business for me moving forward.”

Said Jolly:”Even though it’s been a slow period, we are hoping that people will come and get their paint supplies from us and we are looking forward to end this year on a high note.”

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