Change Is Coming to Northampton’s Main Street

As executive director of the Northampton Chamber of Commerce, Vince Jackson spends a lot of time talking to business owners, and what he hears is generally optimistic — to a point.

“Businesses are careful about using the term ‘fully recovered.’ For some retailers, their situation is better than it was in 2019,” he said, referring to the last pre-pandemic year. “Others say, ‘I’m open only three days a week versus seven, but I’m making more money now.’ Then, for others, things are still tough because we don’t have as much daytime foot traffic with a lot of people working from home. So it’s a mix of anecdotes around town, but the overall sentiment is that things are good.”

At the chamber, one way to gauge activity downtown is through Northampton’s gift-card program, which supports local businesses and, for the third straight year, got significant financial support from Keiter. Over this past holiday season, gift-card sales were up 9% from the previous year, and spending by people redeeming those cards has been up 12%.

“People are spending, and that translates into how retailers are doing,” Jackson went on. “I will say, however, that some retailers say things are not as strong as last year, when people were anxious to get back out and do more traditional shopping.

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