Representatives from businesses across the Green Bay area gathered at the Green Bay Police Department Tuesday afternoon to talk about a negative side effect of the holiday season: retail theft.

“Retail stores across the country have their biggest months in November and December,” Keli Biebel, owner of the Wild Ginger boutique in downtown Green Bay explained, “more people, more traffic, and more shoplifting.”

Biebel says that for small businesses like Wild Ginger, retail theft is a major problem.

“We don’t have the security and the staffing that the larger department stores have,” she said, “so it hits us harder and hits our pocketbook directly.”

Captain Kevin Warych of the Green Bay Police Department agrees, “For those smaller Ma and Pop stores, it’s that much more important because they need a lot of turnover, they need to sell a lot of property, and when that property is going out the door for free, that’s really hurting the bottom line.”

Capt. Warych told Local 5 that the purpose of Tuesday’s retail theft roundtable was to morph individual efforts to end shoplifting into a larger conversation.

“It’s about learning what people are doing, best practices, what areas of improvement we can do, make sure we’re all working on the same mission,” he said.

It’s a mission to keep local businesses in the black.

“We’re bringing all this merchandise in and paying for it and having to pay for the rent and the lights and everything that goes with running a business,” Biebel said. “They think that we can writie it off, or it’s not going to effect us, and it does.”