NORTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The final countdown to Christmas is on.

We are only eight days away, and many people are still out finishing up their holiday shopping.

"Christmas is lovely," Westfield resident Susan Searle tells us. "It's one of my favorite times of year."

As St. Nick prepares for the big night of the week, so are many shoppers, and they're turning to small businesses as they cross off items on their list.

"I think it's really important to support the smaller businesses, because," continued Searle. "They are individual."

Susan used to work at Thorne's Market in Northampton.

She says the downtown shopping center is unique.

"It has a personality that the big stores don't," said Searle. "I mean I do shop in the bigger stores, but when I was here, we'd get to know our customers and they'd be familiar."

The Blue Marble has been open at Thorne's for three years, but the assistant manager tells Western Mass News this is their first year being on the lower level, and it's made a difference for business.

"I think it's been fantastic," Blue Marble manager Ciara Kay tells us. "Seeing people who come into the first floor, and seeing people who are able to find us who maybe weren't finding us before so it's been really good. We're definitely noticing a lot of traffic. The store is pretty much busy from open to close every, single day. I think it's been a big improvement."

Businesses in the market say the hustle and bustle at Christmas time is what keeps them going year round.

"I think that people really appreciate the chance to," stated Kay. "Interact face-to-face with someone who is here to help them find the gift that they're looking for. I think that they also appreciate the experience of coming somewhere like Thorne's where they have the decorations out. We have the Christmas tree, and it seems like people appreciate that."

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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