ST. PETERSBURG, FL — LocalShops1 is starting the new year by helping organize a mini-expo and swag bags for Women in Government’s national conference at the Don Cesar in St. Pete Beach. The event will help showcase small businesses looking to get noticed by 135 of the country’s most influential women, including state directors and first-time legislators. Local businesses interested in participating may email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Also kicking off the new year is LocalShops1’s Neighborhoods! project, a member-to-member initiative designed to help local businesses shine even more. Projects details will be released the first week of 2015.
The past year was a banner one for local businesses in the Tampa Bay region, especially so for members of LocalShops1, which has been empowering small businesses since 2008. The organization is recognized as Tampa Bay’s most active advocate for small businesses in the region.
The year started with a networking social at Domain Home Accessories & Gallery in Gulfport and finished with our annual holiday party at Three Birds Tavern in St. Petersburg. And in between, a ton of collaborations, partnerships and promotions to spotlight local businesses and push forward the message that Local Matters.
Here are just a few of the highlights from 2014:
Launch of Live Local! magazine: LocalShops1’s newest publication showcases the awesomeness of Tampa Bay. Written by small businesses, powered by small businesses. The magazine was unveiled at a red-carpet party with hundreds of of local businesses and community leaders, including a special Champagne toast by St. Petersburg First Lady Kerry Kriseman. Much thanks to our hosting venue, Michele Tuegel Contemporary gallery in downtown St. Petersburg. www.LiveLocalTampaBay.com
Buy Local & Community Advocacy: LocalShops1 is at the forefront of the Buy Local movement, as the go-to-source for countless of news outlets in the region, including Tampa Bay Times, 10 News, Tampa Tribune, Bay News 9 and more. In addition, our marketing campaigns, Why Local Matters and Faces of Local have reached hundreds of thousands of consumers through social media, traditional advertising and, best of all, word-of-mouth. Our organization includes the area’s best local businesses, artists and nonprofits, and more 35,000 LocalShops1 card-holders. LocalShops1 serves on the boards and committees of several business organizations, chambers and civic organizations; sponsors many local charity events, including the annual Sustany Foundation’s Sustainable Buzz; and participates in dozens of community events including St Pete Pride, SpringFest, St Pete Makers Fest and other local markets.
Shopapalooza Festival: LocalShops1’s fifth annual local alternative to Black Friday brought together more than 130 small businesses, nonprofits and community organizations to South Straub Park in downtown St. Petersburg. Shoppers packed the park and vendors reported record-breaking sales. Follow-up surveys show that more than 80 percent of participating businesses hope to return again next year. Event sponsors and partners included the City of St. Petersburg, American Stage Theater Company, Moorman Photographics, Sunset Rotary Club of St. Petersburg, Great Explorations Children’s Museum, TBO.com/ St. Petersburg Tribune, Bright House Networks Business Solutions, and BeachLife magazine. www.ShopapaloozaFestival.com
Buy Local Night in the Park: LocalShops1 partnered once again with American Stage Theatre Co. to bring the annual showcase of small businesses to one of Tampa Bay’s premiere theater productions. The event, at Demens Landing in St. Petersburg, included a presentation on Why Local Matters and featured Bejeweled Gifts from Mother Earth, Bruner Fitness, ImpulseClics, Aussie Designs, FiFi Ruffles and Amazon to Andes.
Top Local Chef: Tampa Bay’s sauciest competition of the year, brought by LocalShops1 and Intensity Academy Gourmet Sauces, showcased the area’s best chefs. This year’s competition featured locally owned restaurants Pipo’s Cuban Cafe (winner of judges vote), Shubee Shack (winner of the popular vote), and finalists Granny Smith Kitchens, Island Flavors & Tings, Serendipity Cafe, Taco Bus, Twisted Cork Grille and Wine Madonna. Judges hailed from the Tampa Bay Times, 10 News, Gulfport Gabber, Carlos Eats and Family Foodie. The event, which brought a sold-out crowd to the Gulfport Casino & Ballroom, was sponsored by the Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce, Gerardo Luna Photographs, A Sweet Statement, ShoutOUT Tampa Bay and Simple with Style Events. www.TopLocalChef.com
Best in Biz Awards: Twenty-six local businesses were honored during LocalShops1’s sixth birthday bash and annual Best in Biz Awards, presented by C1 Bank. Winners were Bananas Music, Sunshine Automotive, Moorman Photographics, Northstar Realty, Bellezza Tan & Spa, Growing Up, Wine Madonna, Shubee Shack, The Kind Mouse Productions, Smokin J’s Real Texas BBQ, Time Systems, C1 Bank and Sea Breeze Manor Bed & Breakfast. Finalists included Bell Contracting & Design, Eagle Datagistics, ImpulseClics.com, Sliding Door Roller Replacement, Beach Haus, Scents from the Harts, Shannon’s Web, St. Pete Music Factory, America’s Disaster Relief, The Cupcake Spot, Fazio’s Pizza & Subs, Sunset Appliance Service, and Tampa Bay Natural Health. The event, at the St. Petersburg Museum of History, featured keynote speaker Stephanie Hayes, local author and performing arts critic at the Tampa Bay Times. www.LocalShops1.com/awards
Small Business Saturday: LocalShops1 was once again on board as a Neighborhood Champion in the Tampa Bay region for the national campaign encouraging shoppers to buy local the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The National Federation of Independent Business reported that 88 million consumers participated, spending $14.3 billion with independent retailers and restaurants on the day.
Second Thursday Networking Socials: In addition to helping connect hundreds of local businesses with community-minded shoppers, our monthly socials helped raise funds and awareness for CASA, the St. Petersburg nonprofit that helps survivors of domestic violence. Hosts and sponsors for this year’s networking socials included Everything Dolce, Being, The Gallery, Mangia Gourmet, Smith & Associates, Grand Kitchen & Bath, ImpulseClics, The Domino Effect, KSar Jewels, Country Harvest Craft Studio, New World Permaculture, The Haus Coffee, Jamberry consultant Nicole Knoph, Simple with Style Events, Shannon’s Web, Arbonne independent rep Nilda Vale, T and Me Tea Co., St. Pete Beach Rental, Gulfport Tuesday Market, Chart 411, Aussie Designs, Neptune Grill, Cystic Fibrosis St. Petersburg, A Peace of Yoga, St. Petersburg Community Acupuncture, The Peaceful Warrior Massage, Sages West Bay Bistro and more. www.LocalShops1.com/SecondThursday
The year also brought a ton of joint marketing and cross-promotional projects, including collaborative calendar, advertising and direct mail fliers; dozens of joint contests and giveaways; and our first-ever Local Gift Card Swap (thanks to Melane Nelson of Growing Up for the idea)!
And 2015 looks to be even busier, continuing our Second Thursday Socials; expanding our signature events Top Local Chef, Shopapalooza Festival, Buy Local Night in the Park and Best in Biz Awards; and having active roles in even more community events and charity fundraisers.
To learn more about LocalShops1 and how you can be involved, go to LocalShops1.com/Join.
To learn more about Why Local Matters, go to LocalShops1.com/Why.
For information email email@example.com.