Here's a thought for those of us who prefer to do our shopping, including in this holiday season, on Marco Island: Our list of local retailers to visit should include non-profit gift shops – The Museum Gift Store, the Art League Gift Shop and the Sylvia and Harold Brownstein Judaica Shop of the Marco Jewish Congregation, 991 Winterberry Drive.
Sharon Rubenstein, a volunteer at the Judaica gift shop, says she and the other volunteers are hoping word will get around that the shop is open to the public.
"There's always been a gift shop at the Jewish Congregation, however, several years ago Cheryl Brownstein donated some money to have the gift shop redesigned and update and they named it for her parents, so it's called the Brownstein Judaica Gift Shop."
Sharon says the venue is growing and expanding its inventory.
"We buy everything wholesale and then we sell retail or a little less. We're in the Temple, not in a shop on Collier Boulevard, so our prices can be less. We have things that you can't find anywhere else on Marco Island.
"We have some gorgeous handbags that are very well priced. We have gifts that are holiday, birthday, celebration-related items, Lenox figurines, watches, and jewelry. We have a lot of Judaica gifts pertaining to Jewish history and culture.
For the art inspired: One-of-a-kind items
Across the street from the Judaica shop is the Marco Island Center for the Arts, whose gift shop "is doing a lively business," says Executive Director Lynn Holley.
"Not only are paintings and prints moving, but we have had a lot of snow-birds buying knit long scarves, made by a fiber artist in Maine. Many visitors buy them as gifts for their northern friends and for themselves."
As the Art League's web site reports, "The Gallery of Gifts is a unique boutique of handmade jewelry, art, pottery, fiber arts and other artistic collectables; we get new items in regularly.
"Unlike other gallery and museum gift shops, our items are all handmade in the USA, primarily from local artists and artisans. When you purchase a gift from us, you receive a one-of-a-kind item which, for a fee, can be gift-wrapped and sent anywhere in the world.
"Discounts are available for members and coupons are available on-line or in our membership package for extra discounts."
The Center for the Arts is at 1010 Winterberry Drive.
Museum gift shop, 'Our Little Jewel'
Lori Wagor, a volunteer at the Marco Island Historical Museum Gift Shop, says one of the many charms of that venue at 180 South Heathwood Drive is its "eclectic assortment of old and new."
The gift shop is less than two years old, which we guess makes it, in part, a young museum about cool old stuff.
"Our collection of historical books by local and world renowned authors is a mainstay that captures the imagination and gives life to Marco Island's colorful past. But it doesn't stop there.
"We have art prints, pottery, jewelry, frond art, Mariposa "serve-wear" and many other unique items," Lori says. "You'll also find replicated artifacts that include the world famous Key Marco Cat in sculpture and jewelry.
"Our 'Kids Korner' has interactive educational products, puzzles, books and arts and crafts, something for everyone.
"Now we just need to continue getting the word out about our little jewel."
Karna Bodman helps make a 'Sunshine Books' Christmas
Crafty thriller writer Karna Small Bodman, a part-time Naples resident, will be back on Marco next week to talk about and sign her latest thriller novel, "Castle Bravo."
Karna is making an encore visit from 4 to 6p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 18, at the Sunshine Booksellers store at 677 South Collier Boulevard.
"Castle Bravo" is a peek at a scary scenario, a threat to world peace that, as critics say, is "ripped from the headlines." It also has some good inside stuff among the power players in Washington, D.C., of which Karna was one.
Ask her about the photo of her whispering into President Ronald Reagan's ear.
Chris Curle is a former news anchor for CNN and for ABC-TV stations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Houston. E-mail email@example.com. Don is a former ABC News correspondent and bureau chief and a former news anchor for CNN and ABC-TV, in Atlanta. His Farmer File column appears Fridays in the Naples Daily News. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.