Michael McCraley owner of Wine Shoppe Torrance

By: Ryan Guitare

As the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce commemorates Small Business Week, scheduled from November 25 to December 2, and with the holiday season approaching, we had the privilege of engaging in a conversation with Michael McCraley, the owner of Wine Shoppe in Torrance. This insightful interview offers a glimpse into the distinctive experiences of a small business during the upcoming festive period.

What is it like being a small Business During the holiday season? Do you see an uptick in your services, or would you like to see more of an uptick in your business?

During the holiday season, you go from a general walking in, to drinking out of the firehose as I describe it. That’s what high season is all about and that is what you look forward to. It’s drinking out of a firehose. You want to have people come in faster than you can handle. It’s the most fun time of the year and that’s when retail businesses like us make most of the profit. 

What struggles/successes have you faced being a small business? 

Existing for 17 years and that’s all the above existing in space. Retail is not easy and there have been so many things in the last 17 years. There was a fire above our store that put us out for 3 months. Then we re-opened just before COVID-19, and then there was COVID-19. We have gone through covid, we have gone through all the major economic things going down like interest rates and cost of living, and money isn’t quite left in the pocket at the end of the day with things like that. The successes that we have been here for 17 years, and we are better this year than we were last year. And we are happy with what we are doing. You can only control the happiness of the people when they walk into the store when they are treated the way they should be treated and that has always been our bread and butter.  

What are you excited for going into the holiday season and Small Business Week? 

We had cold weather at the very beginning of the year that impacted us as a business but now that the cold weather has gone away, we are hoping to see more business. It has been a strange year. Interest rates kicked in and the student loan payment started this month, we are just hoping we can get past this stage and turn the corner kicking off with the holiday season. Every year you’re always looking forward to a lot of fun things happening but the dynamics this year have been so different. We are doing what we have always done, we enjoy helping people and the response has been significant over the years, we try to make a real connection and get to know people on a first-name basis and people love to walk into a store where we remember their name and make great connections. 

McCraley’s experience highlights the resilience needed to thrive as a small business during the holidays. As the end of Small Business Week approaches, let’s rally support for local enterprises, recognizing their essential role in Torrance’s economic landscape.

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