Choosing to Shop Local
As the holiday season quickly approaches, many holiday shoppers in the Tampa Bay area are already making plans to either start shopping on Thanksgiving day or stay up all night for the deep discounts on Black Friday. I appreciate a good deal, but there’s no way I’m going to fight crowds for a sale. Besides, I love unique finds, handmade items and the experience of hunting for the perfect gift for my loved ones. Small Business Saturday is sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and this year falls on November 24, 2018. Many small businesses are featuring deals and hosting events to try to draw shoppers away from the big box stores and keep money in our local community.
Shopapalooza Festival 2018
The Shopapalooza Festival is a two-part event that takes place in Straub Park in downtown St. Petersburg. Festivities begin before the Thanksgiving holiday on November 17 and end with part two on Small Business Saturday, the 24th. The community celebration is in its ninth year and features over 150 vendors. The family-friendly event draws over 5,000-holiday shoppers each year. Combined with the city’s holiday parade taking place the evening of the 24th, it is a full day of activities for everyone in the family. The Shopapalooza Festival is a free event operating each date from 10am to 5pm at South Straub Park in Downtown St. Pete. A list of vendors can be found at http://www.shopapaloozafestival.com/2018-vendor-list.html
Pop-up shops are a great way for holiday shoppers to score brands that aren’t sold at the mall. There will be a Small Business Saturday Pop-up Shop on November 24th at the Hyatt Place Tampa with a wide variety of vendors and a raffle for VIP shopper ticket holders. Regular tickets are free and VIP shopper tickets are $5 and can be ordered through Eventbrite.
Small Business Saturday Art Market
My spouse is an artist so handmade gifts really go far in our home. For holiday shoppers looking for more creative and artistic options, there will be a Small Business Saturday Art Market taking place in Tampa Heights featuring all types of art from sculpture, photography, tattoo art and more. The market is free and will take place from 12pm – 6pm at Mergeculture Art Gallery on Florida Avenue. For more information check out their event page.
Small Business Centric Neighborhoods for Holiday Shoppers
If you aren’t able to get out shopping on Small Business Saturday, there are still other ways to support local businesses in the Tampa Bay area. Having lived in Tampa for half of my life, I have watched Seminole Heights become a Mecca for local businesses. From foodie restaurants to boutique salons and resale shops, shoppers should definitely plan a visit to the Heights as part of their holiday to-do lists. Another area popular for small business owners is historic Hyde Park Village. With the Christmas tree and beautiful decorations in the square, it makes for a pleasant holiday experience for the entire family. For a directory of businesses in Hyde Park Village go to https://www.hydeparkvillage.com/info/about.