GATLINBURG (WATE) - Big box stores are pushing last minute sales this week, hoping to meet year-end marks, but what about small businesses?
In Gatlinburg, the small shops make up a big chunk of the local economy.
"The week between Christmas and New Year's is huge in Gatlinburg. We have visitors from all over," Marci Claude, public relations manager for the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, said.
Amber Wade came from Alabama to visit Gatlinburg.
"It's awesome I like it here," Wade said.
Chris Griffith came from Indiana.
"It's very busy. The after Christmas shoppers seem to be out today," Wade said.
The manager of Pepper Palace in downtown Gatlinburg, Katherine Scates, says there are thousands of people shopping here this week.
"We're very busy right now. We've had a wonderful season we're looking forward to a prosperous new year," Scates said.
A few feet away at Coffee and Company, owner Jeanette Peterson says this is one of the busiest weeks all year.
"As the sun begins to set the business just increases and it's very hard to move around down here in the village, and the downtown area, which is good, that means business is good," Peterson said.
It's a different story at Buie's Pottery, which is about five minutes away from downtown. Owner Buie Hancock says her sales are down about 20 percent from last year.
"Business is kind of slow this year after Christmas. It's a bit disappointing. There's people out and about, but they aren't spending much right now," Hancock said.
After January 6, business owners say things slow down pretty dramatically in Gatlinburg, that's why the sales they do this week are so important. They say things should pick back up again around Valentine's Day.
Claude says there is no way to keep track of the total number of visitors this week, but she says lodging is booked right now, which is a good indication sales will be strong through the new year.