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Downtown Chico shops report uptick in sales from a year ago

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CHICO, Calif. - Downtown Chico businesses report strong sales to start the holiday shopping season, which kicked off with Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

"Well, it feels good, and we hope it holds," said Bob Malowney, owner of Bird in Hand on Broadway Street, who estimated a 10 percent increase in sales from the same period a year ago.

There's no official method yet to know how well or poorly the more than 400 downtown businesses performed this weekend until after quarterly sales tax receipts are reported.

But every shop owner KRCR spoke with estimated an increase of between 10 to 30 percent from last year at the time.

The new owners of Tomfoolery on Third Street were pleased with the cash register activity on their first Christmas shopping weekend.

"People like the experience of coming into a store," said co-owner Terry Strasser. "It's a lot more human than ordering online."

The Downtown Chico Business Association believes more policing, free parking Fridays and a successful Christmas preview event the previous weekend are among the reasons why business is up.

"We've put a great emphasis on putting Downtown Chico beautiful, clean and safe," said Stephanie Yunker, the marketing director of the DCBA. "We've been working on economic development and cleanliness."

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