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Sales slow for downtown Franklin merchants

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FRANKLIN, TN (WSMV) -

Christmas is a few days away, but people working in a historic shopping district aren't feeling very merry.

Sales have plunged and no one is quite sure why.

With Christmas just days away, last-minute shoppers will be flocking to the stores this weekend in the rush to check the last items off your list.

Some small business owners said they desperately need your support.

"I'm not sure if it's the things going on in the government with the shutdown, the anticipation of healthcare costs going up in the new year or if it is having one less week between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, but we definitely have seen a major decrease on shoppers and buyers this year," said Main Street Toy Shoppe owner Kim LaRocca.

With competitive cyber sales and big box deals, Franklin Main Street merchants like LaRocca said they've taken a hit during the season they depend on most for profits.

"It's a drastic decrease," said LaRocca. "I've talked with other shop owners in the area and just month-to-date some of them are down as much as 60 percent over last year. I myself am down about 50 percent over last year. Those numbers are staggering."

Business owners are hoping the weather won't stop shoppers this last weekend before Christmas.

"I think that this weekend is kind of critical as well as the weekend between Christmas and New Year's Day," said Bob Roethemeyer, owner of Avec Moi Vintage Home Accessories and Gifts.

Some shoppers said they are loyal to local stores for the unique things you can't find anywhere else.

"I think they spend more time in what they stock their shelves with and choosing carefully and paying attention to what the kids want," said Sarah Crowder, a shopper.

Merchants like LaRocca said without their loyalty this weekend, they could have trouble staying in business.

"We need them to remember that small business is not just one Saturday a year," said LaRocca. "They need to support downtown Franklin on an ongoing basis."

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