Post-Halloween sales might still be in full swing, but local retailers have already spent weeks looking past the October holiday in preparation for the Thanksgiving and Christmas rush.
Stores in Clatsop and Pacific counties are gearing up for the holiday season, and that means different things for different businesses.
Seasonal hiring is expected to stay around or slightly above 2014 levels, according to releases from the Oregon Employment Department and Washington State Employment Security Department.
Washington businesses are expected to hire just over 15,000 seasonal workers statewide, up from around 14,750 in 2014, according to the Washington State Employment Security Department. Oregon is expecting more of a jump. The state’s Employment Department forecasts fourth-quarter hiring to provide an additional 2,200 jobs over average.
Hiring expectations are playing at multiple Clatsop County stores, including Fred Meyer in Warrenton. The store is in the process of hiring the 20 to 30 seasonal workers it will need to cover the holiday business, said store manager Jerry Sandness.
“Our whole year has been good, we’re having a really good year,” Sandness said. “We’re anticipating that we’ll have a really good holiday season as well.”
Hiring workers for the holiday season is nothing new to Astoria’s Fernhill Holly Farms, either — the wreath maker currently employs just over 200 people, and they’ll likely be hiring 100 more before the holidays are over, said manager Liz Jolley.
The company ships wreaths across the U.S. and into Canada, Jolley said. To meet their demands Fernhill will use around 4.5 million pounds of evergreen boughs to create hundreds of thousands of wreaths and other products, she said.
At the Dennis Company store in Long Beach, the holidays don’t mean many additional names on the payroll, but they do signal a shift in the items on store shelves. Christmas merchandise starts rolling into the store in September, said store manager Glen Admire.
The holidays means shifting stock away from gardening materials popular during the summer months and replacing them with holiday-appropriate merchandise like decorations and gift wrap, he said.
Stephanie Tichenor doesn’t hire for the holidays either, and nor does she stock winter-specific items at her store, The Curious Caterpillar, she said.
She used to order large amounts of Christmas and winter merchandise, she said, but there wasn’t enough business to get it off the store shelves. Now, rather than buy inventory that won’t sell well, she focuses her holiday preparation on selling books, which make up around 75 percent of her sales, she said.
The book sales carry her store through the winter, she said, in part because she takes the merchandise to local schools in the form of book fairs during parent-teacher conferences.
At Sportsmen’s Cannery in Seaview, the holidays mean laying off workers, but not a drop in business, said owner Tina Ward.
Most of the cannery’s inventory has been prepared by the time the holiday season starts, Ward said, so the majority of workers have been laid off. November and December are still busy months, however, as orders for specialty fish to send as gifts continue to pour in from November well into January, she said.