Before I decided to start my own business, I never really paid much attention to Small Business Saturday. Yeah, I saw the ads on TV that American Express pushed. Woopty doo. I was like, “Wow. Thanks AMEX.” Now that I AM a small business, boy does it ever mean something completely different to me! To combat big box stores, e-commerce, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, American Express started the holiday in 2010 and really has done some good things to promote shopping small. You’re welcome. History lesson complete. Now, let’s get to good stuff….SHOPPING!
Shop Small Saturday is November 24th this year (the day after Black Friday). So, rather than getting into fist fights with complete strangers at 4am outside Best Buy because their big door-busting, body crushing sale offers you $100 off an iPad, let’s be reasonable. Take your $500 that you were going to spend on that iPad that nobody really needs, and take it to the streets, people! Putting $500 into a small business only does one thing: It keeps small businesses IN BUSINESS! And let me tell you, $500 to a small business is like winning the damned lottery. $500 to Best Buy is like meh…we do that in a minute here *gum smacking sales associate in an ill-fitting, stained Best Buy shirt*. You can find some GREAT deals on Shop Small Saturday, because a lot of small businesses offer discounts, savings and incentives to shop small.
Shopping is hard, I know. Shopping requires a little thought and a little effort no matter where you shop or what you’re shopping for. You don’t go to the grocery store without a list, do you? NO! That is a recipe for disaster and you know it. You’d get there and you’d be hungry and you’d buy all kinds of weird things and get home and be like, “Shit….I don’t have any food in the house. I guess its Swedish Fish and wine for dinner again!”
So, let’s plan this out and think about 1) who you are buying for and 2) how much you want to spend on each person. Ok. Got it? Good. Let’s go. Scratch all the box stores off your list and let’s find some local shops that can handle all your holiday shopping needs!
One of my absolute faves is the Shop Hop – Seminole Heights:
‘Skip the madness that is Black Friday, and come out to support your local Seminole Heights businesses at the annual Shop Hop. Come get all your holiday shopping done, and then celebrate the holiday season at the after party with prize giveaways, live music, bogo ice cream, wine tastings, and much more.
Shop from 10-6pm at any one of the participating Shops, and they’ll give you a Bingo card to start participating. Then from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. go to The Graham Building for the after party at 6701 Florida Ave. The Grand Prize of (one of the many raffles) is a CRUISE FOR 2 from Graham Global Getaways!! We will also be having a Canned Food Drive for New Seasons Apostolic Ministries: Ronnie Felton Food Pantry. Most needed items: canned green beans, corn, yams, sweat peas. Please bring those to The Graham Building anytime that day!
For a chance to win big on Small Business Saturday, shoppers and diners must visit at least ten of these participating businesses on Nov. 24th during the 2018 Holiday Shop Hop: 2 Broke Spokes, Awoke @ Frank Albert Realty, Cleanse Apothecary, D & D Antiques and more, Forever Beautiful Salon & Wine Spa, Frolic Exchange, Health Mutt, Heights Meat Market, Jet City, Local Art @ Revolution Ice cream, Phoenix Glass Studio, Seminole Heights City Wine Bar, Seminole Heights Antiques, Seminole Heights Spa, Smoke Signals, Thrive: Garden and Water, Urban Bungalow, Valhalla Resale, Velo Champ Cycle Sport and Vintage Post Marketplace.’
You can find hundreds of local businesses at the Carrollwood Area Business Association’s website, as well. You can search from their directory to find just the right place for just the right gift! You can visit many of Tampa Bay’s local markets for unique, handmade, gifts as well. Try the Ybor City Saturday Market (Every Saturday 9-3pm), Tampa Indie Flea at Armature Works (Every Third Sunday 11-3p), Holiday Makers Marketplace (Every Weekend starting Friday, Nov. 24th through Monday Dec. 23rd during mall hours at Westshore Mall) and Tampa Market for Makers (Dec. 8th and 9th at The Cuban Club).
So, set your sights high this year for shopping small. Get out there and SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES! You will come away feeling all warm and fuzzy inside and freaking WIN the holidays at the same time. You’ll be supporting our local economy, making small business owners do crazy happy dances at the end of their days and you know you are SO gonna get yourself a gift for being such a good little consumer. EVERYBODY WINS. You’re welcome.
Keep it real. Shop Local, Tampa!