MARIETTA - Nationwide there may be debate about the state of the economy, but many local businesses and residents believe more spending is on the horizon.
This week, The Conference Board, a private research company, reported that its Consumer Confidence Index fell by the largest margin since October 2011.
But locally, business has been much better.
"Our sales are outstanding," said Deanna Flesher, assistant manager at Peebles, 450 Pike St., Marietta. "We have been above planned for almost a month now. We have just been doing so well."
So far this year Peebles has exceeded sales from a year ago by roughly $87,000, Flesher said.
Flesher attributes those sales to a set of new brands and styles as well as a rebounding economy.
Like Peebles, many downtown businesses are also seeing some steady growth, though it comes in different forms.
Tony Baldwin, owner of Jewelry by Design, 256 Front St., Marietta, said that while his sales on new products have not been great, demand for custom pieces has exceeded expectations.
"They are not afraid to spend the money there," Baldwin said.
Jewelry by Design can take old jewelry and fashion it into a new piece, custom designed at the store.
Of the two aspects of his business, the demand for custom work provides evidence that at least in the Mid-Ohio Valley the economy is showing moderate growth, Baldwin said.
The business is ahead of sales from a year ago at this point because of demand for custom pieces.
"I've been very pleased with the custom orders I've taken this year, so people have to feel a little better about their expendable income," Baldwin said.
Carol Hill, who recently moved her business, Puzzle Piece Quilt Shop, to Front Street, said she has also seen strong sales, but she's hesitant to say it's a result of strong consumer confidence.
"I've seen a significant increase in spending," Hill said. "However, I do not know if it's because my business is more established or my inventory is bigger. I don't know."
Even shoppers are feeling a little better locally.
Jeanne Stewart, 61, of Marietta, was shopping at Peebles on Wednesday and said she planned to leave Thursday afternoon for a trip to South Carolina.
A lower cost of gasoline and a steady market has Stewart confident in the economy.
"I think things are looking up," Stewart said. "I'm seeing more trucks on the road. I think we've turned the corner."
While many local businesses and residents believe the economy is improving, nationwide there is more debate.
The Conference Board says that consumer confidence is down to 64.9, nearly four points below the 68.7 mark reached in April and well below the growth expected by analysts. The May consumer confidence figure represents the largest drop in seven months, dating back to October 2011.
According to Conference Board officials, a reading of 90 indicates a healthy economy.
Reno resident Jan Pickering, 69, agrees with the board's findings.
"I think it is kinda iffy right now," Pickering said. "I'm very cautious of what I buy."
Contrary to the findings by The Conference Board, which were based on a survey of 500 randomly selected people nationwide between May 1 and May 16, a Gallup Economic Confidence poll rated Americans' confidence in the economy at -16, its highest margin in four years.
The Gallup poll was based on a survey of 3,433 adults living in the United States between May 21 and 27.
The positive results from the poll are the type of numbers most area businesses want to see, and believe.
"I'm just excited that people are getting out and they're spending money," Flesher said. "They're staying home and spending it here (in Marietta)."