| Amarillo Globe-News
Various small businesses in and around the Amarillo area have had to adapt during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, continuing to make their goods and services available in a safe manner.
One of the things that have had to change is the typical approach to shopping after the Thanksgiving holiday, consisting of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Small businesses in the Amarillo area have had to expand their online reach to individuals who do not feel it is safe to shop in person this year, for Cyber Monday and beyond – going into the holiday season.
At Silverland: a Hallmark Gold Crown store, located off of Wolflin Drive in Amarillo, Cynthia Allison, the general manager of the store, said online shopping has been used some since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The business is expanding its Small Business Saturday deals to Cyber Monday on its website.
Allison said shoppers are able to shop in person, through texting or using FaceTime with an employee or by scheduling after-hours shopping appointments. The business is also available for home delivery and shipping their products.
While big websites, including Amazon, are hosting sales for Cyber Monday, Allison encouraged Amarillo residents to continue shopping local for the holiday season, even through online orders.
“I think most people like the convenience of having a local store where they can go in and touch and feel and see the exact product,” she said. “We have a lot of people who do look online in other places, but then they do shop with us because they know that we contribute to the local services here … All of our taxes are kept here when people shop with us.”
Dallas Bell, the owner of Burrowing Owl Books, a bookstore with locations in both Amarillo and Canyon, said COVID-19 forced the business to start an online store.
“We didn’t originally have an online store. When COVID hit, we chose to join up with BookShop.org because it does serve our independent booksellers across the nation,” Bell said. “It’s been wonderful. My customers who usually come in can actually shop new books through (the website.) They can’t shop my used books just yet.”
With Cyber Monday, Bell said she is encouraging customers to shop using their website, further supporting small businesses in the area.
“We just really encourage folks to shop through (the website) because it does support the locals. It does support local industry and local business here,” she said. “The funds stay here in the area. If you order online through a large entity, those funds do not come back to our economy. We see money leave the Amarillo area when we do online shopping through (various big name retailers).”
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic affecting the way items are bought and sold during Cyber Monday, as well as virtual holiday shopping through the end of November and going into December, officials with the United Parcel Service (UPS) as well as the United States Postal Service (USPS) are making suggestions to consumers about when the best time would be to ship items during the holiday season.
In a statement given to the Amarillo Globe-News, officials with UPS stated that the company is “working closely with our large and medium customers to steer volume to capacity and ensure the UPS network is reliable for all customers. At the same time, we focus on maintaining the reliability of the UPS network for all of our customers, including small- and medium-sized businesses.”
The last days to ship using UPS to help ensure delivery on or before Christmas Eve include:
· UPS Ground: As early as Dec. 15
· UPS 3 Day Select: Dec. 21
· UPS 2nd Day Air: Dec. 22
· UPS Next Day Air: Dec. 23
Officials with the USPS state in a news release it expects its busiest time to be two weeks prior to the Christmas holiday. Beginning the week of Dec. 7, customer traffic is expected to increase, with the week of Dec. 14-21 predicted to be the busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week.
The last days to ship using USPS to help ensure delivery on or before Christmas include:
Dec. 15 — USPS Retail Ground service
Dec. 18 — First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards)
Dec. 18 — First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
Dec. 19 — Priority Mail service
Dec. 23 — Priority Mail Express service
For more information about shipping gifts during the holiday season, visit www.ups.com/holidays and www.usps.com/.