Tampa Bay leaders: Skip Walmart, shop local

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Local officials are encouraging Tampa Bay area residents to skip the Black Friday madness this year at big box retailers and large chains and instead spend their money in local stores and shops for Small Business Saturday.

“Our small businesses here in St. Pete are really important to us. We believe it’s what really gives our city its character,” St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said in a Facebook Live video Tuesday.

“I know Black Friday is Friday and everyone likes to do their shopping (then), but stay home. Save your shopping for Saturday.”

Across the Bay, Tampa U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor shared a similar message: “What we know is that you spend $100 in a small business, then $68 stays in this community.” 

That same spending in a national chain means less than $50 is put back into the local economy.

Castor spoke alongside small business owners in Seminole Heights where, just a year ago, the neighborhood was ravaged by a series of murders that left small businesses struggling to make ends meet. Locals were staying in, avoiding potential danger.

“It is vitally important here, where we are a community of small business owners to support each other,” Castor said.

Small Business Saturday has become popular in recent years, partially because the Tampa Bay region has a robust small business economy, but also because progressives are calling attention to the fact that Black Friday obsession keeps retail workers away from their families for the holiday.

Black Friday is no longer just on Friday, with many large retailers now open on Thanksgiving. Target, for example, opens at 5 p.m. Thursday. Walmart’s Black Friday begins at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Local events touting Small Business Saturday include a Pet Pal charity in St. Pete at Right Around the Corner on Central Avenue. People can get $1 off draft beer if they show receipts from local businesses.

Also, boutiques along the 600 Block of Central Avenue all are offering special deals for customers shopping Saturday.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected]


  • Jim Davison DO

    November 23, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    Last Xmas at 7% for local business. Next Christmas 8.5% sales tax. Definitely will help local businesses. Thanks Janelle!

  • Jerry Lane

    November 23, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    Will be shopping now and in the future everywhere in Tampa Bay but in Hillsborough County now that they will have the highest sales tax hike in the state 8.5%.

  • Sharon Calvert

    November 23, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    How’s that 8.5% sales tax going to work out in Hillsborough? As nearby Wesley Chapel flourishes, New Tampa sees small & large businesses closing their doors. “In recent months, a number of high-profile and seemingly popular local stores have closed up shop in the 33647 zip code. In stark contrast, a few miles north, across the Hillsborough-Pasco county line, Wesley Chapel continues to grow and expand at a breakneck pace.” http://ntneighborhoodnews.com/2018/11/where-is-everybody-going/ High taxes always negatively impacts small businesses who cannot buffer the tax hike which increases their cost of doing business. Big business can always deal with tax hikes much easier. Janelle Irwin was one of the biggest media cheerleaders for the 30 year $16 Billion tax hike & now she publishes this…what a hypocrite!

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