COVID-19 changed consumer shopping habits and has in turn prompted one Gainesville store to shutter its current location and reimagine how it will do business in the future.

Paddiwhack, which specializes in furniture, home goods and accessories—much of it handcrafted—is moving out of its Northwest 13th Street location and selling all of its inventory at reduced prices through Sunday, Feb. 28.

Although some customers have been concerned the store is closing for good, owner Chuck Sapp says Paddiwhack is instead downsizing to a smaller space and retooling itself to meet shoppers’ changing habits.

“People are not out just shopping,” Sapp said in a phone interview. “They shop for a specific item, and they are not doing ‘just browsing’ shopping. Local retail business depends on that. They will browse and shop on the internet, but currently, they won’t browse and shop in person.”

During the pandemic, Sapp has seen his own sales shift to the internet as the foot traffic to his brick-and-mortar store declined.

“We are selling as much online as we are in the store currently,” he said. “Our online presence is improving—pretty much on a daily basis.”

To help COVID-cautious customers, Paddiwhack also has offered curbside pickup of items bought online or over the phone.

During the inventory reduction sale, everything in the store is at least 30 percent off, with a couple of items 90 percent off, Sapp said. This includes furniture, rugs and artisan pieces.

Chuck Sapp.heic

Chuck Sapp

“We have a tremendous amount of inventory,” Sapp said. “This an opportunity to get [a lot of items] very close to our cost.”

Some of the items in the store have never really been on sale in part because of agreements with the artists who make them, but these pieces are now 30 percent off too.

As part of the downsizing, Sapp actually sold the very first thing he bought for the store in 2002. The piece, a handmade shelf constructed from reclaimed house shutters, sold to a customer who had been shopping at the store for five years.

“They knew it was a good deal,” Sapp said. “We’re thrilled for them. It’s nice they can get something they really like.”

Paddiwhack, which opened in High Springs in 2002 and first moved to Gainesville a couple of years later, has been in its most recent location near Lloyd Clarke Sports for six years.

The newest location on Northwest 16th Street is expected to open in mid-April. Between March and the launch of the new space, customers will still be able to shop the online store, Sapp said.

If you’re going:

Times/Days: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday thru Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday

Location: 1512 NW 13th Street

Website: Paddiwhack.com

Mainstreet Daily News correspondent

Camille Broadway is freelance writer and editor. She has more than 25 years of experience in journalism and journalism education. Bad speller. Baseball fan. OG sci-fi nerd. She's always looking for good story ideas.

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