As more and more states and counties begin to re-open slowly during the pandemic, it’s important to not leave all of the small businesses that count on their local community behind. Supporting small businesses is more important now than ever before – amid COVID-19 as many have struggled with closing-up shop and reducing staff to accommodate social distancing and do their part to slow the spread of the virus. 

Our local businesses need our help. Imagine not having your favorite yoga studio, café, or beach boutique, and re-imagine how you can prevent that through hosting events and activities and continuing to support Small Business Saturday every day, just like two local Tampa political candidates are doing. 

Small Business Saturday Defined 

Small Business Saturday is just one facet of the movement taking place every day all around the country that is necessary for this unprecedented economic turbulence.

This nationally recognized holiday began after the 2010 recession – taking place on the Saturday after Black Friday, the campaign was started by American Express to steer more holiday shopping toward local small businesses and gained the support of the U.S. Senate the following year.

Apart from politicians and figureheads, locals can strengthen the Small Business Saturday movement through becoming a “Neighborhood Champion”, bringing the local community together through creating events and activities involving small businesses!

Why Small Business Saturday Every Day?

Small Business owners have passion and determination shared through their relationships and services that echo volumes for the community. Local vendors promote stories, culture, charm, and a more vibrant community for us all. Truly, the character of a city is defined by its local businesses.

Supporting local also nurtures the community and network of businesses that have personalized interest in our city’s people and support sustainable practices. By helping small businesses thrive we create a stronger self-sufficient economy – the more money spent locally, the more that money can stay local and be re-invested into the community. 

Julie Jenkins, running for the Florida House and Danny Alvarez Sr., candidate for Circuit Court Judge of the 13th Circuit have both been active in the Tampa Bay community supporting and advocating for local businesses. 

Jenkins says, "We’re doing small business Saturday every Saturday to support the hardworking families of our district. Small businesses were there for us when we needed them, and we’re definitely going to be there for them now during this time. We have been going to local businesses since COVID began. We have been trying to highlight the businesses with ordering online, takeout, and pickup and delivery services various businesses offer. The business community has been very appreciative."  

Upon discussing the impact COVID-19 left on local businesses, Danny Alvarez Sr. says “the way they earned their living was gone – you can’t plan for that. When we come back our neighbors are the people we should focus on. We cared enough about them to stay at home, to social distance, and part of that is also supporting their business. When our local economy is not thriving, our federal economy can’t either.”

In Florida alone, there are 2.5 million small businesses according to the SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration) that provided 152,330 new jobs in 2015. The United States as a whole contains 30.2 million small businesses that account for 99.9% of the country's businesses.

So how can we as consumers help?

How To Support Local

From weekend markets with everything from local produce to handcrafted jewelry to small rooftop bars serving up crafted cocktails and even small online businesses, there are plenty of opportunities to support small businesses every day.

“It’s not complicated – when you Google something you need, for example, a plumber – find a local one! Or put into your Rolodex of questions – are you a locally owned business or are you locally affiliated?” said Alvarez, who then broke it down into three main steps:

  1. Make the conscious decision to support
  2. Let's talk about it -- keep the discussion at the forefront, then it becomes a habit.
  3. Let the world know -- spread awareness of businesses, events, and tailored services!

MyArea Network lists small businesses all over Florida, ready for you to access. Here you’ll find businesses from all industries that you can make a conscious decision to help. So next time you feel like treating yourself (as you should), try supporting small businesses, with big ambitions!

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Cover photo courtesy of Unsplash, article photo from the Julie Jenkins State Representative Facebook page