Local businesses see holiday boost

By Brittany Pieper – email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - It's beginning to look a little bit more like a pre-recession Christmas. According to an American Express study, the average American will spend $710 on Christmas shopping this year. Not as much as the years just before the recession hit, but slightly up from last year and 2008.

Natalie Parnell listed off people she needs to buy gifts for, "my husband, my sister, my mom, my dad, my grandparents, my aunt and uncle, a bunch of people."

Parnell says she definitely feels she spent more this year than last.

"Looking at what all was under my tree and how much I've spent. It is kind of a little bit more expensive," she said.

Local business owners say they've seen a boost.

"Definitely better than when the recession hit," said Ian Webb, Owner of River City Cycling.

He's seen more people looking for bikes as gas prices rise.

"More and more people wanting to commute by bike. Just small trips," said Webb.

He also said the season has been good for his growing business, "What better toy can you give at Christmas than a bike?"

Next door at Absolutely Abigail's Boutique, Donna Phillips has had a very merry Christmas as well.

"Last year, I think it was more mental. I was worried and concerned. People were conservative in their spending. They thought harder before making that purchase, but I didn't pick up on that this year at all. The mood, everybody's mood was upbeat and they were excited and eager and satisfied," said Phillips.

She hopes the growing consumer confidence continues.

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