TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Christmas is less than three weeks away and it’s one of the busiest times of the year for local retailers. Officials in Tuscaloosa are expecting a much-improved economy this season over last year, which was hit hard by the pandemic.

Charles Spurlin is the owner of the Shirt Shop in downtown Tuscaloosa. He says he is glad his business is going well, and many other stores are seeing things turn around this holiday season.

“This year we are having a great football season and people are so hungry for Alabama football and they are coming here in big numbers and we are doing well of course. This Christmas season, the Shirt Shop is busy,” said Spurlin.

Spurlin tells CBS 42 that last year was a different story.            

“Last year was a different approach to Christmas, we were wearing a mask and people were not moving around as much, and the University was tight,” Spurlin said. “Business was different and tight.”

Jim Page says Alabama football gets a lot of credit for more customers going out to shop. Page is the Director of the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce. He also believes more shoppers this season is great for the economy.

“Well I think this holiday season, consumer confidence is up and we feel better about where we are from a health and safety standpoint. We’ve had a great football season which has helped the local businesses. But we are seeing that the shopping season is looking like it’s going to be significantly better,” Page said.

Page hopes the positive shopping trend to local stores like the Shirt Shop will continue to thrive this season.