Omaha businesses hope to make up for sales lost during extreme cold

Owners say cold and snow hurt typical holiday rush
Omaha small businesses are trying to make up for less-than-usual traffic and sales over the holiday weekend.
Published: Dec. 26, 2022 at 4:27 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Many businesses in Omaha are working to make up for lost sales from before Christmas.

Dangerously cold weather forced some stores to close at a busy and critical time.

“It was a quiet weekend around here,” said Sara Cohen, a manager at Hollywood Candy in the Old Market

Like many small stores, Hollywood Candy relies on last-minute shoppers to bring in the big bucks before Christmas.

“Usually, it’s pretty crazy around here. We get a little push right before the holidays.”

However, Cohen says this year was different.

“Just crickets,” she said. “It was quiet and cold and a little bit sad.”

The cold weather kept many people inside instead of venturing out and shopping. Hollywood Candy closed shop an hour earlier than usual.

“We did lose quite a bit of business over the last couple days before Christmas.”

Small businesses across the metro are working to make up for lost time and money after snow and cold kept many shoppers home leading up to Christmas.

Fortunately, the week between Christmas and New Year’s is also a shopper’s prime time, and Cohen plans to take advantage of it.

“We’ve discounted all our Christmas candy by 25% and we have Christmas movies playing every day in our movie theater.”

Unlike mom-and-pop stores, restaurants generally can’t offer big sales to lure customers back. So, owners and employees often end up eating the costs.

Jeanette Rose with Pickleman’s says the café projected about 2,000 in sales before Christmas, but didn’t come close.

“We stayed open,” Rose said. “We ran our shop with as little employees as we could so our employees lost out on time as well and hours working.”

Rose said there wasn’t much they could do about it.

“The only way we can really make it up is with catering orders and people coming to our stores.”

Rose is hoping people will grant her a belated Christmas wish and shop local.

Retailers say despite the weather, sales this holiday season were up between 6-to-8% compared to last year.