Experts urge people to shop local for the holidays to avoid supply chain issues and shipping delays

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Posted at 7:36 AM, Nov 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-19 07:36:44-05

TAMPA, Fla. — “I’m known as Mama Olive here,” said Marilyn Messina of Joe and Son’s Olive Oils.

She’s well-known around Joe and Son’s Olive Oils shops in Tampa.

“My grandfather started the first Joe and Son’s market in 1938,” said Marilyn.

They were open for 40 years until they retired. Then, 10 years ago, Mama Olive’s daughter stepped up.

“Our store is made up of over 50 different varieties of extra virgin olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars,” said Andrea Messina, Owner of Joe and Son’s Olive Oils.

They opened up a store in South Tampa and Carrollwood too.

“I am incredibly thrilled to know that my parents’ store name is alive and well,” said Marilyn.

Serving the community for the past decade, this shop and others are now working to help you with your holiday shopping in an unprecedented year.

“Our stores locally are starting to gear up for the holiday season. We’re already starting to see advertisements for Black Friday and Shop Small Saturday sales,” said Kelly Flannery, President and CEO of South Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

Local shops are really relying on community support this holiday shopping season.

“Many of our small businesses are just now kind of getting their footing back under them after a very challenging last year with lots of changes to mandates and regulations and inventory issues and so it’s really important that we find ways to support our small businesses this year more than ever,” said Flannery.

Consumer experts say, shopping local this year is a great way to avoid those supply chain issues.

“We’re already hearing stories of delays. Especially on big-ticket items such as furniture and things like that,” said Flannery.

“What we are recommending for consumers this year: consider shop, don’t ship. So let’s shop local, let’s shop early, and let’s shop often and let’s consider this a holiday shopping season versus just focusing on that Black Friday and Shop Small Saturday,” she added.

Getting your gifts from a small business means you don’t have to worry about shipping delays to make sure you get your gifts on time.

“If you just consider shopping local, they’re sourcing their product from different places. It’s from local artists, local manufacturers, often times the majority of their products are produced here in the United States so they’re not facing those same challenges with things as far as getting things shipped and getting things here on time for the holidays," said Flannery.

Businesses are also still trying to find ways to get creative, sticking with things that have made shopping more convenient for consumers throughout the pandemic.

“They’re continuing to also offer things like curbside pickup, or pre-ordering where you can just stop by the store and pick it up and have your order already ready,” said Flannery.

And if you’re a business owner looking to boost sales and make the most out of this holiday season, here are a couple of things the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce recommends:

  • “Make sure that your storefront is picture-perfect. So have signage out, let people know that you are open for business and that you’re ready and geared up for the holiday season," said Flannery.
  • “The South Tampa Chamber also relaunched our Keep the Cheer Here social media page and all local businesses are welcome to join that group. It’s on Facebook, Keep the Cheer Here South Tampaand they can post things that are happening in their store," said Flannery.
  • You can also check out this website where you can find printable graphics to use on web pages and social media.

The bottom line — community support this holiday season, will ensure local stores like Joe and Son’s Olive Oils will stick around for decades to come.

“I can’t get over how grateful we are to have had the community support these past 10 years,” said Andrea.

“78% of small business owners say that if they have a great start to their holiday shopping season they’re going to end the year in a great place,” said Flannery.