Venetian Bay businesses see last-minute shopping rush, restaurants expect holiday turnout

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Credit: WINK News.

It’s been a tough year for shops and restaurants during the pandemic, but businesses are hoping Christmas week gives them a much-needed boost.

We went to The Village Shops on Venetian Bay in Naples Thursday, where it’s a vital time for businesses.

Last-minute shoppers rushed out to make sure their friends and family would get the gifts they hoped for.

Those at shops we spoke to say there was a rush Christmas Eve when a lot of people like to be at home with family. It was a welcomed sight for small businesses.

“Yesterday was crazy as far as last-minute shoppers,” said Brooke Koch, the manager of Panache.

Koch says the 30-year-old boutique struggled like many other small businesses did during the pandemic.

“I mean, very scary,” Koch said. “We didn’t know what was going to go on. We had a lot of product left over because we ordered so much for February and March being season.”

A holiday rush was exactly what they needed.

“Actually, better than last year to be honest with you, which was surprising,” Koch said. “We’ve made sure that we have a lot of different ‘gifty’ items, and a lot of guys coming here shop for their wives.”

The shop Koch manages is a short walk away from John Phelp’s custom jewelry business, where he has been lucky to do pretty well during the pandemic.

“We are very, very blessed,” Koch said.

His shop has benefitted even more from the increased foot traffic this holiday season.

“I would say, on both on Tuesday and Wednesday, it was just nonstop,”’ said. “We had a stack of receipts that was really, really big, so we’re doing a lot of business.”

Both Phelps and Koch hope the trend continues.

“It’s been nice,” Koch said. “It’s been pretty busy, so we are very blessed.”

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.