by Kristin Lucas

Business owners rely on local shoppers to ensure lasting business for downtown Normal shops into the holiday season.

As the holiday season approaches, most people already know that stores at the malls will be packed with customers. What some people may not know is the shops in downtown Normal are just as busy this time of year.

“We usually get a lot of business during the holiday season,” Kim Hartnett, manager of the store What’s Up Tigerlily, said.

What’s Up Tigerlily sells designer denim, tops, belts and jewelry with a lot of its business during the school year coming from college students.

“When school is in session many of our customers are students. But during the breaks many of our student customers leave to go back home,” Hartnett said.

Hartnett often relies on her local customers for business.

“We have a lot of girls living in Bloomington who are loyal customers. Also girls from the area who have gone away to school come back here for breaks,” Hartnett added.

What’s Up Tigerlily, like many other downtown Normal shops, gets quite a bit of business from residents of Bloomington-Normal.

Solid Gold Jewelers, also located in downtown Normal, just celebrated its 26th Anniversary selling jewelry, including engagement rings and gold jewelry.

“We don’t get much of our business from the college students other than some jewelry repairs or a few engagement rings,” Gerry Taylor, co-owner of Solid Gold Jewelers, said.

Taylor also agreed it is the local residents who make up most of his customers.

“We have a good clientele and that is the backbone of our store.”

“The townspeople shop here and that provides us with a majority of our business,” Taylor said.

Taylor said as with the stores in the malls, Solid Gold Jewelers also is busier with the holiday season approaching.

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