Local shops in Seminole Heights banking on holiday shopping amid unsolved murders

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Small businesses in Seminole Heights are hurting in the wake of four unsolved murders.

Customers have been staying away since the first murder six weeks ago, but business owners are hoping families will return for Small Business Saturday.

Tampa police have announced additional patrols on horseback Friday and Saturday along with the large police presence that’s already in place.

Signs like the ones outside Urban Bungalow and Cleanse Apothecary, businesses on N. Florida Avenue, are posted all around the neighborhood promoting Small Business Saturday.

“It’s our highest grossing, biggest day of the year,” said David Hansen, owner of Urban Bungalow and Bungalow Coffee.

The annual Holiday Shop Hop is part of a big effort to attract shoppers back to the area and rebuild confidence. Shops and restaurants in Seminole Heights will take part in offering sales, raffles and prizes.

“It’s been tough, but we’re making it,” Hansen said. “Everybody has been affected, not as affected obviously as the family of the four people that we lost, that’s first and foremost always what we want to remember, but it has affected the entire community.”

Next door at Cleanse Apothecary, Greg Curtis is entering his eighth holiday season in business but this one is unlike any other.

“It’s very sad that this has happened in our neighborhood but every day we just keep going and we want to bring the positive,” Curtis said.

Small Business Saturday could become part of that change.

“I bring my daughter, my daughter-in-law, my friend Shelia, we all come out in a group and do it en masse, like a hoard moving from one shop to another,” shopper Ardis Hanson said.

The Shop Hop will take place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. all over Seminole Heights.

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