Business is booming in the heart of Visalia. Shops on Main Street are busy and the streets are packed. Michelle Wiebe owns Pacific Treasures & Gourmet. She says sales are up this holiday season. "Yes! Absolutely, business is great!"
Wiebe's shop is one of a kind, miles away from the nearest big box retailer. In her store, customers know her name and many shop to support her. "We love our customers, we take care of people and they're our friends and we visit, it's really special," Wiebe added.
Stan Simpson is one of those customers. He works, eats and shops downtown. In fact, he says he bought all of his gifts this year on Main Street. "I just believe so much in the power of networking and the communication with people in a downtown store where you're not just a number, you're actually a person."
A few blocks away, at Chelsea Street Boutique, it's been a record setting season. Sam Sciacca owns the business with his wife and daughter. He's also the marketing director with the Downtown Visalians.
"We're offering the public a variety of shopping, which you can't get usually in this type of environment, but downtown Visalia seems to bring it on," Sciacca said.
He says it's really a community of retailers and shop owners work together to improve business, "That's why we're so successful... because they're cooperating to bring these shoppers into town."
For Wiebe, it's simple. Main Street is home, customers are friends and success is just icing on the cake. "It's a special place to be, it's happy, it's nice... it's home town, it's great."
There are roughly 300 retailers and 52 restaurants in Downtown Visalia. Right now there are no vacancies and businesses that want in are all on a waiting list.