Gen Z is ditching internet orders to shop locally in Aroostook

Gen Z is ditching internet orders to shop locally in Aroostook

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – Aroostook County holiday shoppers are saying goodbye to the one-day Black Friday frenzy, canceling internet orders and buying locally.

Businesses from Houlton to the St. John’s Valley have seen strong sales this season, with cold-weather clothing, decorations and jewelry among the top sellers.

Inflation and increases in fuel oil and electricity have immobilized consumers across the state. But in the county, some retailers say holiday sales are surpassing last year and have brought them back to pre-pandemic levels.

Not only are people buying more gifts locally, but they’re more determined than ever to celebrate, no matter the cost of living.

“When it comes to in-store shopping, I think the pandemic has really helped show the value for Maine residents that they’re supporting their local businesses,” said Curtis Picard, president and CEO of the Retail Association of Maine in Augusta. “I think people have been more aware of that.”

And there is another interesting reversal. Millennials — those born in the 1980s and 1990s — generally didn’t like shopping in stores, he said. But Gen Z, which followed, seems to be returning to in-store experiences.

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