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Tampa to promote Small Business Saturday as part of its Bridges to Business initiative

The city will promote certified small businesses on its social media platforms.

The city of Tampa is promoting Small Business Saturday as part of its Bridges to Business initiative.

The city is using #ShopSmallTampa on its social media platforms to feature certified small businesses and encourage consumers to make their holiday purchases from local businesses.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our community,” said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor. “We are committed to our Bridges to Business partnership, which is a community driven initiative focused on making the process of doing business with the city more convenient for local business owners.

Castor’s newly implemented initiative brings City Hall into the community to discuss with small business owners ways they can access city programs, assistance and events to boost their business.

“#ShopSmallTampa is the first of many ways we plan to do so,” Castor said.

Small Business Saturday began in 2010 after American Express launched it to support shopping with small businesses, according to Farm Bureau Financial Services. The next year the annual event gained support from then President Barack Obama.

In 2017, consumers nationwide spent nearly $13 billion in small businesses compared to just $5.5 billion in 2012.

Small Business Saturday has grown in popularity as traditional Black Friday sales have crept into the entire Thanksgiving weekend and as online shopping becomes more and more prevalent.

It’s a way to encourage consumers to save some of their holiday purchases for small businesses rather than relying on big box retailers and online shopping.

The event takes place in cities nationwide the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It’s typically marked by shopper incentives in local small businesses ranging from special markdowns to storewide discounts.

The event doesn’t have a physical presence but rather serves as more of a movement where consumers pledge to do some of all of their shopping in local stores. Other movements have also taken hold including “Buy Nothing Day” where consumers pledge not to make any purchases on Black Friday in protest of inflated consumerism and Cyber Monday, which is celebrated the Monday after Thanksgiving and marked by price markdowns from online retailers.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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