IMPROVISE DURING PANDEMIC SHUTDOWN
TREASURE COAST BUSINESS OWNERS
Patty O’Connell, owner of Gumbo Limbo Coastal Chic and Gumbo Limbo Coastal Kidz in Stuart, has adapted the way she runs her shop to cope with the pandemic.
Merchants find innovative ways to combat loss
of revenue and customers
For about a decade, Patty O’Connell has
had an informational website for Gumbo
Limbo Coastal Chic, her downtown Stuart
home accessories shop. But none of the
store’s eclectic collection of goods were for
sale online. The plan was to eventually gin
up the website for e-commerce, but there
was no hurry. Most all her customers were
loyal locals. All sales were in-store, just as it
had been since its opening in 2008.
That was all BC — Before COVID.
O’Connell said she was fortunate to
have the website up and running before
protective protocols for the virus forced all
stores like hers deemed non-essential to
shutter from mid-March to early May.
The pandemic came on like a Category
5 hurricane in its ability to shape-shift the
landscape for Treasure Coast merchant retailers,
just as it has most aspects of life in
this memorable year many wish to forget.
The start of e-commerce for Gumbo
Limbo was pushed up overnight and sales
immediately switched from in-person to or- >>
BY BERNIE WOODALL