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Holiday Market opens for Small Business Saturday

Local shops are hoping to recoup some of the losses they've taken during the pandemic.

GULFPORT, Fla. — It's Small Business Saturday and local shops are hoping to boost their bottom line after financial losses from the pandemic.

More than 100 local vendors will be set up on Beach Boulevard South in Downtown Gulfport for the Holiday Market. It runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28. 

You'll find a full list of vendors here, or check out the map below.

Credit: LocalShops1

"We all know 2020 has been awful for many businesses, but especially small businesses like us, says Pippa Hill. She sells handcrafted jewelry and home goods through her shop Jacaranda Hill.

"Since March we haven't had a chance to actually go out there and sell our goods in person and this event is basically a boost for us. We are so looking forward to coming together as a community again," Hill said.

There will be free masks and sanitizing stations set up throughout the market. Vendors say they're following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention health and safety guidelines to limit contact, so you may need to browse differently this year. Many vendors say they'll hold up items for people to look over instead of letting you browse on your own.

If you don't feel comfortable shopping at the Holiday Market in-person, you can check out nearly all of the local vendors online. Ester Venouziou created LocalShops1 and the Marketplace at the beginning of the pandemic when brick-and-mortar stores started shutting down. It's given artisans a way to keep working and selling.

"Not only are you going to find a variety of wonderful gift ideas, but you'll also be shopping local, you'll be supporting small businesses and local makers in the Tampa Bay region," Hill said. "Every time that somebody makes a sale, I guarantee that we do a little dance. It's so encouraging for us to keep going."

Small business owners say they need your support now more than ever. A study done by Lending Tree in September found nearly 74 percent of small business owners had to take on new debt to cover financial losses from the pandemic.

RELATED: Small Business Saturday shopping guide for Tampa Bay

RELATED: Keep it local: Tampa hosts small business directory for holiday shopping

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