"I thought we did wonderful," Alton Florist employee Sandy Cunningham said Monday, Dec. 27, of store transactions the preceding week. "We sold a lot of Christmas decorations."
In October, Annie Whitten, a Jonesboro, Ark., first-grade teacher, bought the store, which she plans to run full-time in June 2011.
Also in October, James Smith opened Alton Gun and Pawn, and Victoria Smith, of Albuquerque, N.M., (unrelated to James Smith) opened Busy Bee Consignments with partner Sarah Ross.
Victoria Smith said she thought the store's sales the week of Christmas were good, considering the store does not sell traditional holiday gifts, but "gently used" clothing and household items.
"It's hard to say when there is nothing to compare to," Victoria Smith said of her first two-and-a-half months in business.
With store shelves now filling up with tools, electronic games, computers and sporting goods, pawn shop owner James Smith is looking to add more merchandise. He said business was slow when he opened in October, but picked up in December, although not directly related to Christmas shopping.
None of the shops surrounding the Oregon County Courthouse opened for business Friday, Dec. 24, with store owners opting instead to spend time with family and friends.
Across Highway 19 during the late afternoon on Christmas Eve, the Alton Dollar General Store parking lot was full as shoppers searched for last-minute gifts or entertaining necessities. In Harp's Grocery, every sales register was open during the last few hours of the business day.
Sales tax revenue
Oregon County sales tax figures for December will be available after the first week of January 2011. Sales tax income in December, a reflection of November sales, was $76,234, compared to $63,269 a month earlier.
September sales tax receipts, at $89,147, and July, at $82,911, were the highest for the year. The lowest months were August at $56,109 and February at $58,544.
Sales tax income for the last six months of the year ($441,238) was the highest it has been since before 2005. The 12-month total ($852,119) was more than the same period in 2008 and 2009, and just short of the 2007 year end tally of $853,842.