LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Online shopping is big business and some local business owners like Vanessa Pegan, co-owner of Main Street Mercantile, said she's joining the big box businesses online.
"When business got slow, we decided we needed to find another way and found out a lot of people are shopping online, including my children. We decided we needed to move to the next way of selling," Pegan said.
Purdue Retail expert Richard Feinberg said consumers spent nearly $30 billion in the weekend following Thanksgiving and $3 billion of that was spent online. Feinberg said e-commerce is a growing business and if small businesses don't sell online they could lose out to the big box stores.
"The small retailer is going to suffer in that and that scares me because our community depends on a vibrant small business retailing," Feinberg said "If we're walking down Main Street Lafayette and everything is closed, everything is empty that's really horrible to think."
"We just need to reach out to the whole world, which is what you do when you sell online and if you do that in addition, I think we can do both and hopefully I think that would be good for Lafayette to keep these buildings with a purpose," Pegan said.
Pegan said through the years her business has had to make a lot of changes so selling online just made sense.
"We've been in business for over 35 years so we've seen a lot of changes," Pegan said. "We change according to what the demand is, so this is just another demand that we can hopefully fill and continue to do business."
Not every business is jumping at the opportunity. Virtuous Cycles co-owner Zoe Neal said he prefers to interact with his customers in person.
"There's something about going into a brick and mortar store and talking to somebody who has experience with the products and has used them," Neal said.
Neal said his business does have a website but it's just so customers can see what's in the store. When asked if customers will ever be able to buy products online from Virtuous Cycles Neal said he doesn't really know.
"It's a possibility but I'm not that interested in it," Neal said.
Feinberg said while having a presence online is important for retailers it's still not as important as what happens in the actual store.
The trees is up and the decorations are set. Visitors are getting a special look at the Haan Mansion as Christmas approaches.
Several generations gathered Saturday to remember a day that will live in infamy. The day marked 72 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Downtown Lafayette transformed into a scene right out of Victorian England Saturday for Dickens of a Christmas.