Shop Small and Show Support for Local Businesses
BELLEAIR BLUFFS…It’s that time of year again when consumers are asked to take a break from bargain hunting big box stores and patronize the little guys. With Alley Antiques owner, Shirley Brown, as their neighborhood champion, Antique Alley, 596 Indian Rocks Road, will once again hold an open house to celebrate the mom and pop stores in and around the Alley on Small Business Saturday (SBS) November 24. The stores will be hosting outside vendors, holding special sales, and offer prizes and treats from 11 am to 4 pm. Volunteers from the Birds of Prey program at McGough Nature Park will be on site to give kids and the curious a close encounter with their Ambassador Birds.
American Express launched the SBS movement in 2010 to encourage people to shop small during the holiday season. The following year all 50 states unanimously passed a resolution to support the day. Since then, 7,200 individuals and organizations like Brown have worked to rally consumers to “Shop Small”. Consumers aware of the day have spent a total of $85 billion dollars at independent retailers and restaurants since SBS began.
Love for Shopping Small is spreading. 90% of people surveyed by American Express agreed that SBS has had a positive impact on their communities. Brown is appreciative of the support. “Especially right before the holidays when big business is bombarding everyone with their ads and promotions and people shopping online, we can feel just how small we really are. It’s nice to have a day that calls attention to our efforts and role in the community.”
For over 30 years hundreds of businesses have moved in and out of Antique Alley. Collum Antiques, Randy McCarthy’s Furniture Repair and Finishing, Victoria’s Parlor and Alley Antiques all have the distinction of having called the Alley home for over 25 years. Brown has seen over 80 businesses open and close during her time in the Alley. “It’s always sad to see new shops go out of business after the owners had so much enthusiasm and entrepreneurship.”
Lately though, the enclave of shops has been experiencing an uptick in traffic thanks to a recent visit from Fox News’ Charlie Belcher who featured their antique and unique stores on Good Day Tampa Bay last month. Says Brown, “Every year snowbirds from northern and midwest states, Canada, and even Great Britain make Antique Alley a destination spot on their trip, though so many locals don’t even know we’re here. Small Business Saturday and the movements to shop small and local are changing that.”