Small retailers are already preparing for the holiday season, while still striving to catch the last of summer and back-to-school shoppers.
"We have good customers that always return to us as well as new ones they recommend shop with us," said Rosemary De St. Jean, owner of Rosemary's Heritage Flowers in Crown Point.
Preparation is the key for the holiday season, with fellow retailers and small business owners at the Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce telling De St. Jean they are ready to do their part.
According to the National Retail Federation, retailers who work hard and make the right moves can expect to outpace last year's gains, with U.S. retail sales projected to rise 3.9 percent this holiday season.
That increase would be welcome after a summer that saw sales just plodding along in August, increasing just 0.2 percent that month, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
Falling gasoline prices are making retailers and their customers feel better, putting more discretionary income in customers' pockets and helping retailers' bottom line.