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Stuart shoppers head out for last-minute Christmas gift buying

Small business owners rely on each other for support through 2020
Couple shops in downtown Stuart weekend before Christmas 2020
Posted at 11:26 PM, Dec 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-20 23:40:20-05

STUART, Fla. — Shoppers in downtown Stuart were shopping small for their last-minute Christmas gifts Sunday.

"I went to O'Sole Mio for a lot of Tommy Bahama," said shopper Karen Giaquinto. "He got a new bathing suit and a couple other fun things."

Giaquinto said she prefers the downtown area versus big box stores because of large crowds and the pandemic.

"That's why we like the small places, because it's too crazy (at larger places)," said Giaquinto. "The mall, I kind of tried to stay away from."

Kristen Couperus, owner of the Gypsea Cottage, said 2020 has been a difficult year. That's why she and other entrepreneurs in the area have relied on each other for support.

Christmas display at Gypsea Cottage in downtown Stuart
Christmas items are on display at the Gypsea Cottage in downtown Stuart, Dec. 20, 2020.

"We could help out as one small business helping another one, buying their goods, whatever we could do," said Couperus.

Couperus said her store has seen a large increase in online sales since the beginning of the year and that most of her merchandise is made by other local small businesses.

"There's a lot of people that are still uncomfortable about leaving their house, that even though this could be a safe shopping experience, they rather shop from home," said Couperus.