ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Today thousands of people came out for the seventh annual Shopapalooza festival in St. Pete. Some got their Christmas shopping done a little early, all while giving back to the local economy.
Shopapalooza is Tampa Bay’s alternative to Black Friday shopping. It all got started seven years ago when the founder wanted shoppers to keep their money local.
“If you spend a dollar at a local independent business, seventy cents will stay in your community. If you spend it at a chain store, only about thirty-five cents stays here,” said Esther Venouziou, founder of LocalShops1.
More than 130 vendors were out today selling their unique and often hand-crafted items. While all selling a different product, they all shared the same message.
“My livelihood depends on whether people come out and support individual businesses and individual artists,” said May Turner, owner of Phoenix Fire Designs.
“Support the mom and pop businesses, support the small businesses and it can really boost our economy,” said Michele Northrup, a hot sauce specialist.
“It’s super important to support local people, to support handcraft goods and to skip those malls, the Best Buy and those big box stores so you can get something super unique for this holiday season,” said Tiffany Kingsley of Studio Kingsley.
Nearly seven thousand shoppers chose to skip big box stores this year.
“You got to support every local shop around here. Every small business is ready to grow right, just like anything you want to help everyone grow,” said Hunter Curran.
From chocolate cake, hand-crafted art and food trucks, all sales and support lead to a better Tampa Bay.
“You got to support local, that is what makes a community, really.”
If you missed out on this today, this same event will also be held next Saturday in downtown Saint Petersburg’s South Straub Park from 10 a.m. until sunset.