"Cyber Monday" a Boon to Local Business

Not just the malls and the stores on the street are in the black from holiday shopping. More and more people are doing their holiday shopping on the internet.

And today's the busiest day for that, what they're calling Cyber Monday. We found one local business taking advantage of the shopping frenzy.

You've probably seen the sweets at Savannah's Candy Kitchen on River Street or in City Market, but they're seeing the holiday rush more than ever online. In fact, they say it's not just good business, but they wouldn't be in business long without the web.

The company can expect about 85 percent of its business during the holidays. "Valentine's is okay, Easter's okay," president Stan Strickland told us. "But it's really, we're in the candy Christmas business. That's what we're good at."

All kinds of sweets are manufactured in double, then triple shifts as Christmas approaches. This time of year they can expect to package and ship about 3,000 orders a day. And more than ever, those orders are coming in online.

"We've been doing online now five to six years," said operations manager Melinda Van Dyke. "And it's gone from being just, you know, an order here and there during Christmas to somewhere between 20 and 25 percent of our business."

And it's now when online business really start picking up. "Everybody's realizing it's Christmastime and they're just trying to get their orders in," said Van Dyke, adding online is also her favorite way to shop.

But it's vital these days. "We'll be out of business in five or six years if we didn't have the web," said Strickland. "Catalog business is dropping, web business is increasing."

That's why this modern operation is keeping with the times to keep business growing. And "business is sweet," according to Strickland.

If you want to sample those sweets, check them out online at www.savannahcandy.com.

Why is this Monday in particular so busy? The theory is people are back at work after the holiday weekend, doing a little shopping from the office.

Nationwide, researchers say holiday shopping online is expected to reach a record $18 billion this year.

Reported by: Charles Gray, cgray@wtoc.com