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How local shops plan to keep their heads above water this unusual holiday season
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Shoppers enjoy the sunny weather Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, while visiting shops in downtown Gainesville. - photo by Scott Rogers

With Jingle Mingle, Mule Camp Market, Marketplace and other festivals canceled for the holiday season, local Gainesville shops are gearing up for an unusual holiday season.  

For many retailers, November through Christmastime proves the busiest time for sales; however, this year is a little different.  

“We are doing our best to pivot, we just don’t know which way that is,” Connie Rock, owner of Purchase Effect on the Gainesville square, said. 

Rock said she plans to keep her store closed for Black Friday on Nov. 27 and instead release in-store and online deals Saturday, Nov. 28, during the square’s Small Business Saturday event. A portion of sales from everything sold at the boutique goes toward a charitable cause.  

“It’s hard to compete against Amazon and bigger companies also doing Black Friday sales,” Rock said. “We hand it over to God and go, ‘Alright, it’s your business, your will be done.’” 

Through losing large seasonal events like Jingle Mingle that usually boost business, Rock said this year could be “make or break” for Purchase Effect. Right now, her shop offers both online sales, deliveries and curbside pickup. Even if someone wants to video chat with Rock over the phone to look at a certain item, the owner said she is happy to oblige. To order from Purchase effect, visit purchaseeffect.com.  

Taylor Wilson, owner of Gypsy Threads Boutique in downtown Gainesville, said she is hopeful people will choose local stores for their Christmas shopping. She intends to keep her store open an hour earlier at 10 a.m. for Black Friday and the square’s Small Business Saturday event.  

For those who feel uncomfortable entering the store, Wilson said they can instead order clothes or an e-gift card at mygypsythreads.com

“I feel like if we’ve made it this far, it’ll be OK,” Wilson said. “I’d love to see more sales. This is usually a good time of year for us.” 

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Shoppers enjoy the sunny weather Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, while visiting shops in downtown Gainesville. - photo by Scott Rogers

Vicki Moore, founder of Rahab’s Rope on the square, said she isn’t worried about the decrease in customers with the loss of downtown events and the pandemic deterring people from shopping in-person.  

“With this small downtown atmosphere, we hear that people feel more comfortable coming here,” Moore said. “We’ve actually picked up new local customers because they feel more comfortable here than going into larges stores or the mall.” 

Although Rahab’s Rope sells clothing and gift items like a boutique, it’s a nonprofit striving to “give hope and opportunity to women and girls that are at risk or have been forced into the commercial sex trade of India.” 

The nonprofit pays women to help make clothing and jewelry items that are sold in its Gainesville and Clarkesville storefronts. Moore said 65% of the nonprofit’s funding comes through product sales. 

Despite the pandemic, Moore said she feels as though her shop in Gainesville has regained its usual pace but is experiencing an uptick in online shopping. 

“At this point, we’re pretty normal as far as sales,” she said. “We’ve been doing a lot of marketing and social media to increase sales. Even before the pandemic, we started to see an increase online.” 

To view the nonprofit’s online store, visit rahabsrope.com.   

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Shoppers enjoy the sunny weather Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, while visiting shops in downtown Gainesville. - photo by Scott Rogers
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