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Spokane businesses hoping for busy holiday season following pandemic slowdowns

Downtown Spokane businesses hope foot traffic from holiday events will help boost sales.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The sidewalks in downtown Spokane were busy with shoppers on Black Friday. With the holidays just weeks away, people were getting out to find the perfect gifts for their loved ones.

According to Downtown Spokane Partnership C-E-O Mark Richard, local businesses need a busy holiday season. 

"Well, it’s critical,” Richard said. “Businesses have been stymied by lack of foot traffic and so forth. People have, of course, changed their habits. A lot of folks are doing more shopping online. So, the commerce that happens in these next few weeks are really critical." 

With numerous events planned for downtown Spokane to celebrate the holidays, there are hopes that the increased foot traffic will help keep businesses busy. 

"I can't tell you and your listeners how important this next couple of weeks is to all these businesses downtown,” Richard said. “You know, they rely on the customers to support the retail environment downtown, but there's so many wonderful things to do to just make it an experience."

One of those businesses hoping for a busy holiday season is Uncle's Games - one of the many locally-owned shops inside the Liberty Building downtown. The pandemic has caused hard times for the game store. 

"It’s really November and December where we make most of our money as a retail business,” said Kyle Kemble, the president of Uncle’s Games. “Last year was a pretty thin, pretty thin retail year, especially with all the internet traffic. So, we're really excited for in-person shopping again this year with no restrictions, and it’s just essential really for our business to have a strong holiday season."

Luckily, Uncle's Games has seen a healthy amount of foot traffic. With the holiday season well underway, shops like Uncle's hope business will continue to boom as shoppers continue to finish their gift lists.

Kemble is also excited at the return of the upcoming holiday events - which could push even more people through the doors. 

"Obviously, the more energy the better. We love energy, we love being part of kind of a thriving downtown community,” Kemble said. “We’re excited to see some of these events coming back. Anytime they can do it safely, it seems like a great idea to us. We're definitely in support of that."

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