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Richmond-area shop owners are cautiously optimistic about holiday spending

Shoppers in a colorfully decorated store
Shoppers peruse Carytown's World of Mirth toy store in 2021. State tax revenues are on the rise and so are job numbers leading into next year. (File photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

Virginia’s economy is looking good — at least right now. State tax revenues are on the rise and so are job numbers leading into next year. 

Gov. Glenn Youngkin proposed a 10% tax break for small businesses in the budget plan he introduced last week. But it will have to go through a politically divided General Assembly.   

ChamberRVA said hotels are reporting strong occupancy and room rates, thanks in part to aggressive tourism campaigns. 

Some Richmond-area business owners, like Jill Hammer with MediaNoche at Stony Point Fashion Park, said they do feel the pressure of rising costs, but holiday season consumers are still shopping small.

“Even if it’s a little bit more expensive, people have been so supportive, and they come in here specifically seeking things that are made in Richmond,” she said. “Most of our makers have been able to keep their prices pretty flat. There’s a little bit of increase with some of the makers as their costs go up, but they want to get their work out there.”

Hammer said there are some benefits to being an independent retailer in an uncertain economy, too.  

“There’s a tremendous amount of talent in this town, and it’s really easy to restock,” she said. “We haven’t been plagued by any supply chain issues, because we can just run down the street and go restock from our makers because they’re local here in Richmond.” 

Cindy Richards owns a pet sitting and boarding business, which she said is doing great. But she’s had to make one small adjustment to her spending recently. At the end of each year, Richards makes 75-100 desktop calendars with photos of her clients’ pets as holiday gifts.  

“But this year, I’m scaling it back — just in size. It’s still a very nice gift, very good quality,” Richards said. “But it’s just going to be a little bit smaller to help curb some of those costs.” 

For her own Christmas shopping, Richards said she generally turns to secondhand shops.  

She’s always been conscientious about money. 

“But obviously this year, even more so,” she said, “because everybody is forecasting doom and gloom.” 

Whittney Evans is VPM News’ features editor.