holiday shopping

According to the 2015 Ohio Retail Holiday Forecast, prepared by the UC Economics Center, Cincinnati will have the biggest increase in Ohio holiday retail sales from 2014 to 2015 at 5.6 percent.

For the state, University of Cincinnati economists predict an average increase of 4.2 percent in November and December. The national average is 3.7 percent.

Although some retailers and shoppers have decided to opt-out of Black Friday sales next week, the day still kicks-off the busiest shopping time of the year. Eighty-seven million people visited stores on Black Friday in 2014. And more shoppers took part in Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. But every sale price is not a bargain, and it is smart to have a plan before you hit the stores or go online.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

 On any weekend night, the bars and restaurants in Over-the-Rhine are busy.  But the president of the OTR Chamber of Commerce, Emilie Johnson, would like to see the crowds visiting during the day, especially during the upcoming holiday season.

Johnson says most people are familiar with the nightlife along Vine Street, “but what helps to balance and round that all out, is to have additional things."  Johnson says that's retail, and service businesses.  She says a mix of those and the entertainment businesses are what make a neighborhood strong. 

It’s time again for the Greater Cincinnati Holiday Market, a gathering of unique boutiques and specialty stores, at the Duke Energy Convention Center. Robyn Carey-Allgeyer previews this event with Alison Bushman, president of the non-profit Bake Me Home, one of the show’s beneficiaries.

Brazee Street Studios is gearing up for its annual holiday show and sale called Multiplicity, which opens November 14 and runs until January 2. Leah Busch of Brazee Street Studios is in the studio with Jane Durrell with a preview of the sale and an explanation of the show's name.

Like it or not, the holiday shopping season is almost upon us, and I doubt that anyone hates malls more than I do.

Fortunately, the BuyCincy Holiday Event (previously "Cincinnati Unchained") promotes the benefits of shopping locally while bringing holiday traffic to locally-owned, independent businesses in the Greater Cincinnati area.

Jane Durrell has some suggestions for art lovers planning a visit to Yellow Springs for some holiday shopping.