VINCENNES, IND. (WTHI) - A long hot summer, full of drought, has given way to the holiday season in southern Indiana.
The drought killed crops and shrunk the bottom line for farmers along the country roads in the Wabash Valley.
While the impact is reaching down to local Main Street businesses early results are not as severe as some folks might have feared.
Downtown Vincennes is dressed up for the holidays.
The merchants here depend heavily on spending by the agriculture community.
The reports after the first few days of holiday shopping is that retail sales seem to be pretty much the same as last year, even though the farmers had below average production.
"I think if you are going to see those problems you're going to see it on the big ticket items," said Marc McNeece with the Knox County Chamber of Commerce. "I think people still shop for Christmas just how they are."
There's no question the drought had a big impact on farmers and their bottom lines this year, but it hasn't completely dried up sales along the rural main streets.
"We're one of the largest agricultural counties in the state and again with that group I think we're seeing a mixed results," said Aaron Bauer with Bauer Jewelers. "Those that had some irrigation are doing better than those that didn't."
Business leaders believe that while last summer's drought is going to have some kind of impact it might not be quite as severe because it comes on the heels of some very good financial times on the farm.
"The ag community had been very strong over the last 4 or 5 years," said McNeece. "This year was a rough year, but I think there were enough good years in the bank to make up for the one bad year."
A year that farmers and local retailers hope doesn't come around again next year and threaten to dry up the holiday sales.
Retailers point out it is still early in the shopping season and they won't have a complete feel of the financial impact of the drought until after the first of the year.
The holiday season is often a happy one for the whole family, but for those grieving the loss of a loved one it can be a difficult time of the year. One local family is carrying on the memory of their son during the holidays.
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