Small businesses and shoppers return to holiday markets

NEW YORK (AP) — On a recent evening in early November, shoppers at the Bryant Park Holiday Market in New York City were in the holiday spirit well before Black Friday. The scent of pine wafted from the candle vendor stalls, people munched on gingerbread cookies and warm apple cider, and ice skaters spun figure eights around the rink at the center of the market.

After two years of pandemic holidays where people spent more dollars online, shoppers are back in force at stores and holiday markets. Small businesses say it’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas, both emotionally and financially.

“It’s definitely been busier than last year,” said Sallie Austin Gonzales, CEO of soap company SallyeAnder based in Beacon, New York. This is its second year at the Bryant Park Market, officially called the Holiday Shops by Urbanspace at the Bank of America Winter Village in Bryant Park.

“People are taking advantage of being a part of society again and walking around.”

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