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Burlington retailers offer local delivery option

Published: Dec. 9, 2020 at 9:12 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Many small businesses in the downtown Burlington area have begun offering delivery to local shoppers.

Business owners at Dear Lucy say the summer did give them some hope that winter shopping wouldn’t be as much of a struggle. But a slow start to holiday shopping has them looking for every dollar they can get, and offering services they never have before.

“Luckily for the last nine months, we have been building our website,” said Melissa Desautels, the owner of Whim Boutique and Dear Lucy in Burlington.

Like many small businesses all over Vermont, Desautels created an online site to reach their customers, but they also hopped on another trend.

“We know that people are hesitant to leave their homes right now so we want to bring the shopping experience to them,” said Desautels.

And their way of doing that is delivering locally, just within a 15-mile radius of the store, to show that shopping small is still possible.

“We are still trying to capture that client and if that means driving to their house, we are going to do it,” said Desautels.

Local delivery is offered right at checkout along with curbside pickup and normal shopping. They typically do the deliveries themselves at the end of the day, trying to maximize efficiency.

Desautels says once the package is dropped off, they take a picture of the location and send it back to the store so an email confirming delivery can be sent to the customer.

She says they see roughly 10 local deliveries a week, and although not much, it serves a double purpose.

“It’s easier and more cost-efficient to deliver it if it’s in say Burlington or South Burlington. We get a drive in, we get to wave to or say hello to our customers in the window,” said Desautels.

She says their customer service is the same, even if they can’t see someone in person.

“They are on their computer and we don’t know what they are doing. We can’t see them in their homes, so we would love to be able to help them through the ordering process if that is what they need. So we can still do the customer service piece it is just a matter of someone reaching out,” said Desautels.

“They are figuring out the best way to reach their customers,” said Kara Alnasrawi, the director of the Church Street Marketplace.

Alnasrawi says with the efficiency small businesses can offer to their neighbors, in some cases, it beats shopping with larger online retailers.

“This concept of local delivery, you order it and either that afternoon or the next day it’s on your doorstep,” said Alnasrawi.

And with LoveBurlington, an online platform to show what businesses are offering for shoppers, Alnasrawi says despite changes or a different look, it’s still the same feeling with a local business owner.

“You feel very connected with these people that are working so hard for their livelihood,” said Alnasrawi.

Desautels is hopeful business will pick up as the holiday season goes on.

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