The residents of Northern Berkshire made a great effort to shop local this holiday season, local business owners said Wednesday.
Monique Suters, owner of Persnickety Toys at 13 Eagle St., in North Adams, said people are becoming more in tune with shopping locally.
"We saw a lot of business during Hometown Holidays, and people took advantage of the later hours," she said.
Suters said the Playmobil line of toys were her most popular items. Also popular was the magnetic building toy Magna-Tiles, which Suters ran out of before Christmas. Suters said she saw one toy make a big comeback.
"Marbles were a popular stocking-stuffer this year," she said, adding it was something she was happy to see. "They are a beautiful piece of artwork that you can play with."
Keith Bona, owner of Berkshire Emporium & Antiques on 59 Main St. in North Adams, said business increased 15 percent from last year. He attributed this partly to Main Street becoming more of a destination for shoppers and increased marketing.
Items that sold well before Christmas, he said, included scarves, clothing accessories and candles. Local food, such as Vermont peanut butter and maple syrup from Senecal’s Sugarhouse in Stamford, Vt., were also popular small gifts. Bona said customers also purchased antiques for a collector friend or if something sparked nostalgia.
"They may remember something their grandmother had in her kitchen, and that brings back memories," he said.
Eagle Street Music on Main, at 81 Main St. in North Adams, offers a variety of musical instruments in addition to lessons. Owners Matt Berger and Jen Cohen said shoppers were attracted by the store’s wide variety of instruments. The store carries electric and acoustic guitars, along with unique instruments like ukuleles and banjos.
"Before Christmas, we were easily doing a week’s worth of business in one day," Berger said. "It goes to show you people are making an effort to shop locally."
Berger said their store offered customers more special attention than big-box stores could.
Beth McLean, manager of Nature’s Closet at 61 Spring St., in Williamstown, said business had dipped during the month of December. Much of her business is weather-driven, she said.
"It’s hard to justify going out to buy a winter coat with no snow," she said.
But McLean said business picked up Wednesday, the day after Christmas, with shoppers coming in to buy winter coats in droves in anticipation of the season’s first snowstorm, which was expected to start Wednesday and last through today.
McLean said she expects business to pick up even more during her end of year clearance sale, which runs until Dec. 31. Most of the store is between 20 and 40 percent off. And with every $50 purchase, shoppers can try their luck at spinning a "Wheel of Fortune" to win 10 to 100 percent off any one item.
Richard Simpson, manager of Water Street Books at 26 Water St. in Williamstown, said sales were up 10 percent from last year.
"We are not doing anything different than we did last year except that we are offering seasonal discounts on great reads, as well as our fiction, non-fiction, business, graphic and children’s bestsellers," Simpson said.
Simpson said top holiday sellers at his story included J.K. Rowling’s "Casual Vacancy," William Manchester’s "Last Lion," and Hedrick Smith’s "Who Stole the American Dream?"
To reach Edward Damon, email