SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO)– The holiday season is always the busiest time of year for retailers and their most important quarter for bringing in the revenue they need to continue their business in the new year.

But some local retailers say they’re also starting to feel the impact of inflation.

“I have lots of friends who are business owners and we’ve noticed a downturn in the amount of traffic, the foot traffic we get in our doors, and the number of sales that we have,” DART Boutique owner Leslie Dolby said.

Dolby opened DART Boutique in 2019 right before the pandemic hit. She says once she opened her doors after the initial shutdown, her retail business saw a big boost.

“What I like about shopping at local boutiques is you get to see everything in one place,” customer Tammy Mielke said.

“People were really purposeful in their shopping and supporting local businesses. Now this past year, at least over the last couple of months have seen a sharp decline in that. We’re kind of wondering why, what is the reason for this sharp decline?” Dolby said.

She posted that question to her followers on Facebook and got a ton of feedback with a very similar theme.

“Everything seems to be costing more in our economy and our income levels aren’t necessarily rising at the same rate that everything else is going up,” Dolby said.

While many people commenting said they’d love a chance to come and pick out a new outfit, it’s the kind of extra purchase many people are trying to hold off on.

“People are trying to feed their families, trying to make sure they have housing and their basic needs covered, and they’re scaling back on spending in general,” Dolby said.

“I have a child that just started college and my priority is to make sure she gets what she needs,” Mielke said.

As a mom herself, it’s something Dolby has experienced in her own personal household.

“It’s scary. It’s a scary time for everybody,” Dolby said. 

But as a retailer, she says it was hard to see the overwhelming feedback that everyone seems to be working to cut back on expenses.

“If spending is going to continue to trend down, we’ve got to figure out what we can do to survive and keep the doors open,” Dolby said.

One of her plans is to cater to a more cost-cutting economy by offering more low-dollar gift items and working to provide some significant sales, especially over Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and into the holiday season when retailers want to drive traffic to their stores.