Omaha’s small businesses adapt to keep sales up as bad weather looms

Tactics implemented during pandemic proving helpful in staying afloat amid a storm
With the weather getting worse, small businesses are doing what they can to keep customers coming.
Published: Dec. 20, 2022 at 3:43 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - If you think it’s cold outside now — wait until later this week.

The bitterly cold weather could run the clock for last-minute Christmas shoppers.

Laci Mullick owns Found Vintage Market in Benson. Laci says bad winter weather days before Christmas won’t be good for business.

“We get a lot of husbands, we do a lot of gift cards, things like that,” Mullick said. “But for the most part, the last week is usually pretty good for last-minute shoppers.”

Laci expects people to change their last-minute shopping clock and shop Tuesday and maybe Wednesday. If the weather gets really bad, she says she will choose to keep her employees safe.

“I just won’t open, honestly,” Mullick said. “It’s more important for my staff to stay home and make sure that they’re cared for than it is for me to be open for a few dollars.”

There’s a little bit of everything down the road at Spruce, near 50th and Leavenworth streets. Owner Amy Sporrer has been here for more than ten years. Experience shows business tends to slow down as the weather deteriorates.

“It will definitely slow it down, 100%, and I understand that,” Sporrer said. “I don’t want my employees on the road when it’s cold and nasty, so why would anyone else?”

Amy made a technical upgrade a couple of years ago — now, she hopes people using their fingers to shop will help replace the missed walk-in traffic.

“We set up the website at the end of 2020 during COVID after we were closed and everything, and it’s been very helpful,” Sporrer said. “We ship all across the country now.”

Sporrer admits it took a pandemic to make her change her business model — and now, it could pay off when things get bad outside.

“I resisted for many years,” Sporrer said, “but now I realize it’s a good thing.”

Both owners say they will be open if possible, but the most important thing is to keep employees and customers safe.