Somerville niche market toughs out slow sales season

Holiday sales were not down as much as had been feared for the niche market of independent shops in Somerville. Retailers posted the worst holiday sales in 40 years. Independent business owners like

News 12 Staff

Dec 31, 2008, 12:40 AM

Updated 5,621 days ago

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Somerville niche market toughs out slow sales season
Holiday sales were not down as much as had been feared for the niche market of independent shops in Somerville.
Retailers posted the worst holiday sales in 40 years. Independent business owners like Comic Fortress? Kent Schlacter say they were able to stay afloat by offering unique items.
?We?re the only place to get it if you want a statue or something comic book-related,? says Schlacter.
Megyn Craine, the baker next door to Comic Fortress, was able to use some business savvy and renegotiate ingredient prices. She says becoming a better businesswoman paid off for her this year.
"Everybody talks about the economy, everybody's been hit a little bit, but it was pretty good," says Craine.
For other Main Street neighbors, sales may not have been as great as year?s past but people were still opening wallets and pocketbooks.
?Instead of buying three suits, maybe they?ll buy one ? instead of buying five sweaters, they?ll buy two,? says Tessuto owner Ernest Michel. ?But they?re still spending.?
Somerville has not gone totally unscathed by the recession. At least five buildings are vacant on Division, a small side street, and around 10 percent of the buildings downtown is vacant as well.


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