2022 Sales tax season is up

By Paige Nash

The report is in and so are the reviews. 

The Webster Parish Sales Tax collection for December 2022 showed a 6.05 percent increase compared to 2021 for the City of Minden. Minden had the second highest increase for a taxing body in Webster Parish right behind the Village of Doyline who had an increase of 7.02 percent. Webster Parish as a whole showed an increase of 1.74 percent. 

 A lot of locally-owned shops in Minden experienced a wave of customers during the holiday season, especially during the weekend of the Christmas in Minden event hosted by the Greater Minden Chamber and sponsored by Gibsland Bank and Trust. 

The event was a weekend-long event and included activities ranging from a tree lighting ceremony, Holiday Trail of Lights Hayride, ornament crafting, a parade, fireworks and more. With the wide range of activities for all ages, food choices and shopping, the event was sure to bring in a local crowd and others from surrounding areas. 

Owner of Momma’s Little Corner Denee Simmons was one of the few who had an increase in shoppers during that weekend.

She said, “It was better for our Christmas in Minden this year. They did an amazing job at promoting.” 

Hers Bridal and Special Occasions also had an increase in sales for the 2022 holiday season compared to last year.

Shop owner Alicia Adams said, “We are up 49 percent from last year.” 

Both shops are located downtown where most of the events were held, but even nearby shops picked up some of the traffic. 

Owner of Say Baby Boutique Store Melisha Sikes said they had a remarkably successful holiday season.

“We had a great season. We started the season with Shop Small and Black Friday, both were a success,” said Sikes. “The Christmas shopping season was a little delayed from last year but picked up and was really good.” 

Alice Daniels with Heavenly Treasures, a vintage antique shop, said that their December was extremely close to last year’s sales.

“We only surpassed 2021 by a few hundred dollars, but still excited for it and glad everyone is still shopping,” said Daniels. “One main reason for our selling more than last year has to do with our excellent vendors who keep popular sought-after items in their booths at bargain prices and our awesome employees who keep Facebook live sales, videos and pictures before the public with social media.” 

Making Christmas in Minden a weekend-long event gave visitors a reason to stay overnight. A couple of local Bed & Breakfast locations saw an increase in visitors, as well. Webster Parish Commissioner Sara McDaniel has multiple properties that she has restored and made available for rent through AirBnB.  

“December was a crazy busy month at all my properties. I had lots of people in and out,” she said. “There was a group of 5 girls that came up from St Francisville for the Christmas in Minden weekend. They stayed at my Cottage on Fort, went to brunch at Geaux Fresh, toured Germantown and shopped downtown and in our antique shops.” 

Huffman Manor Bed and Breakfast, despite being denied rezoning to become an official event center, still experienced growth this year compared to last by about 12 percent. According to owner Jim Huffman they had requests for at least 18 events with party sizes ranging from 10-40 but had to decline. 

“Unfortunately, we had to decline them all due to not being zoned an event center, we cannot financially gain from an event,” said Huffman. “We did, however, host the Chamber’s After-Hours event that we donated to the Chamber and members. We raised over $1,000 for Project Reclaim and we had at its peak over 78 individuals in attendance. There was no negative impact on the community. Parking at Huffman Manor was more than adequate and there were no negative impacts to traffic or ingress/egress from the event.” 

However, Mighty Oaks, a specialty shop specifically for boys and men, did not have the same experience. This shop is owned by Jennifer Powell and carries sizes ranging from 3 pounds to adult 3X. Powell’s storefront is located at 215 Madlo Lane just off Homer Road, but due to lack of shoppers most of her business comes from online sales.  

“I found myself hustling to make my sales meet where they were in 2021. Ninety percent of my sales were out of town that I mailed out,” she said.  

Location or having such a narrow niche could explain the lack of shoppers at Mighty Oaks, but Powell hopes locals will keep her store in mind when they are shopping for the men in their lives, young and old.

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