Seminole Heights businesses gaining customer support in spite of killings

Businesses finding solutions to keep people safe

TAMPA, Fla.- There are new displays of courage in Seminole Heights as businesses are considering steps to make their customers feel safe.

Dozens of people are posting on social media about eating in Seminole Heights restaurants and bars and buying local as Tampa Police continue to hunt the killer.

Anne Fanning's pet-food delivery service, Running On Raw, took a downturn shortly after the latest killing in Southeast Seminole Heights.

"I unfortunately did suffer like four days with zero sales," Fanning said.

She said people thought she'd be afraid to deliver in Seminole Heights. But Fanning said nothing is going to keep her from delivering to her neighborhood.

"This is my neighborhood," she said. "Nobody is scaring me away. "

She wasn't the only Seminole Heights small business suffering following the recent shooting deaths of four people in the community.

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Valhalla Resale had one day where they had just two dollars in sales, something that is far from normal.

"It's incredibly important that we have people from outside the neighborhood supporting us as well," said Danielle Ferrari, owner of Valhalla Resale.

Now, Seminole Heights business owners are considering creating a shuttle service to take people from other neighborhoods in Seminole Heights in groups.

"People coming in from outside knowing that it's safe and knowing that they can shop without fear," Ferrari said.

This comes as many Seminole Heights businesses are changing their profile picture to a logo saying "Support Seminole Height's Businesses."

 

"We cannot be defeated by something like this," said Brett Bailey of Health Mutt.  "We still must be who we are."

Neighbors are also posting about helping support the businesses by purchasing gift cards. 

Tampa Police are also jumping on board. The owner of Trip's Diner said Tampa Police had 15 officers dining in before a shift change Monday morning. 

Business owners like Fanning say when people spend money in Seminole Heights in such an uncertain and scary time, it makes a huge difference in the success of these businesses.

"To hear people saying, hey, we're coming from St. Pete to help you," said Fanning. "We're coming from South Tampa to come check you out, that's heartwarming, uplifting and totally validating."

Seminole Heights business owners are inviting residents to kick off the holiday season by taking part in a series of shopping events, prize giveaways and block parties in the central Tampa neighborhood on Small Business Saturday.

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