Small Business Saturday Helps Seminole Heights Shops
Seminole Heights store owners got a big boost in business last Saturday.
In a community where small business is an ever growing part of the landscape, a day dedicated to providing patronage to such establishments is a major event.
Small Business Saturday on Saturday, Nov. 24 led to packed Seminole Heights shops and markets leading to a boost in revenues to kickoff the holiday season. A visit from local news channels combined with his own efforts to the promote the day paid off for Cleanse Apothecary owner Gregory Curtis.
"Let's just say we had a very good day," Curtis said of his business at 5127 N. Florida Avenue. "We sent out about 800 postcards, and a lot of people saw us on the news, so we had a great turnout. We were packed throughout the whole day, and because of that, it was our best Small Business Saturday yet."
For store owners, the day was more than just an opportunity to sell a lot of products or offer deep discounts. It was a networking tool in garnering new clientele.
Saturday was Curtis' third Small Business Saturday, a day that has always been a successful marketing tool for him. This year, he was impressed by how far people were coming into Seminole Heights from to shop in his store.
"We had a woman come from all the way from Zephyrhills to shop here, which I think indicates that people are understanding the importance of supporting small business," Curtis said. "We need the support of the neighborhood to grow, and when you support us, you support the printing companies that we support and so on."
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Up the road at Brooksie's Market, 5805 N. Florida Avenue, owner Michelle Brooks welcomed new customers, and was impressed at the enthusiasm shoppers had for buying local products.
"People were more interested in things that were made by people from around the neighborhood," Brooks said. "That's an awesome thing to me. Because say you come in and buy something from me that is made in China, then you're supporting me and my local business, but when you buy something that was made by someone from the neighborhood, you're supporting more than one local person.
"I like that I can have my shop be about supporting multiple people from the neighborhood."
In some communities around Tampa, Small Business Saturday was a much needed reprieve from the slow months that led up to and followed November's election. In Seminole Heights, however, business didn't seem to falter. Curtis reported the same sales figures in October that he did from the previous year, and doubled his Small Business Saturday sales figures from a year ago.
Brooks said she hasn't felt much of a difference because of the election, either.
"Did we all need a Small Business Saturday? Sure, but I didn't feel a sense of gloom and doom in the weeks prior to it," Brooks said. "The mood of the day was very much like a progressive dinner where you start at a friend's house for appetizers, then move to another house for salad. Folks saw people they hadn't seen in a while, had a few beverages, supported local small business and in our case, local artists and crafters."
The social atmosphere was buoyed by residents from around the neighborhood pouring into shops on bicycles and on foot.
"This place was packed with sixty people from the neighborhood who had walked or biked over," Brooks said. "It was great, because people were having a blast just hanging out. It was the best day I've had since I opened. People planned their day around it."
What did you purchase on Small Business Saturday? Tell us in the comments.