Businesses brace for holiday busyness

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published December 4, 2023

  Beverage crafter Anthony Majewski serves up specialty coffee made from beans roasted on-site at DEER CAMP Coffee  Roasting Co. & Outfitters  in Sterling Heights.

Beverage crafter Anthony Majewski serves up specialty coffee made from beans roasted on-site at DEER CAMP Coffee Roasting Co. & Outfitters in Sterling Heights.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


STERLING HEIGHTS — Bells will be ringing, and so will cash registers, this holiday season. But just how much metro Detroiters’ wallets will be in the Christmas spirit remains to be seen, according to local businesses and economic observers.

Stacy Ziarko, the president and CEO of the Connect Macomb chamber of commerce, said her organization is hoping for a robust holiday shopping season.

“And we’re hoping that our community continues to support our small businesses in the Sterling Heights area that give so much back to our community,” she said.

As with other years, many local small businesses looked forward to the Saturday after Thanksgiving, which recently fell on Nov. 25, as Small Business Saturday.

Ziarko said Connect Macomb has been encouraging people to shop locally by publicizing a Shop Local Macomb contest that ran through Dec. 3. Participating shoppers submitted photos of themselves shopping locally and posted them on social media, thus earning  a chance of winning a gift card through First State Bank.

Over at DEER CAMP Coffee Roasting Co. & Outfitters in Sterling Heights, beverage crafter Anthony Majewski explained how the business sells coffee and other made-in-Michigan gift items. Majewski said the business, which is owned by his wife, Julie, is expecting more growth this holiday shopping season based on increased purchases so far.

“We’ve been very blessed with a lot of locals coming in and spending money. They’re telling us they’re shopping local this year,” he said. “We had a great outcome on (Black) Friday.”

Majewski added that he has seen some customers participate in the Shop Local Macomb campaign, adding that participants have ranged from high school students to senior citizens.

He explained that shoppers are gravitating toward stocking stuffers and items for their gift baskets, including barbecue sauce, crackers and, of course, coffee.

“We, obviously, are selling a lot of our holiday blend coffees: New Year’s Blast and ’Tis the Season,” he said. “Some people are buying gift baskets. They’ll assemble a  bunch of products. We had soaps that just came in. Those are a great stocking stuffer, and some of them are holiday seasonal.”


Economic experts chime in
According to a November announcement, the National Retail Federation said they expected this year’s holiday spending in November and December to have a “slower growth rate compared to the past three years,” or about 3%-4% growth compared to last year. But the federation still expected Americans to hit a spending record, reaching somewhere between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion.

“It is not surprising to see holiday sales growth returning to pre-pandemic levels,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. “Overall household finances remain in good shape and will continue to support the consumer’s ability to spend.”

On Nov. 28, the NRF added that shoppers beat expectations by coming out in force between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, with 200.4 million participating compared to last year’s 196.7 million and the federation’s earlier prediction of 182 million.

But other analysts noted that inflation could affect people’s holiday splurging habits. Matt Ross, Western Michigan University associate professor of finance, said in a statement that inflation “is eroding holiday season prospects” throughout the world, partially due to commodity spikes tied to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

“Even with the Federal Reserve setting the highest interest rates since the dot-com bubble more than two decades ago, inflation is still impairing consumer choice ahead of the holidays,” he said. “We are experiencing the largest inflation period since the early 1980s.

“Although the inflation rate has started to dip over the past year, the U.S. rate is high relative to pre-pandemic inflation. Higher prices have already taken a toll on Americans with credit card balances now at an all-time high. Consequently, families may see fewer gifts than in past holiday seasons,” Ross said.

Learn more about Connect Macomb by visiting or by calling (586) 731-5400. Learn more about DEER CAMP Coffee Roasting Co. & Outfitters, 35279 Dodge Park Road in Sterling Heights, by visiting or by calling (586) 983-8800.