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Businesses get creative to drive foot traffic, sales to rebound from pandemic

Drive-in movie night draws large crowd of shoppers
Drive-in move night Carrollwood shopping plaza.
Posted at 11:17 AM, Jun 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-12 18:50:19-04

TAMPA, Fla. — What was a boring empty parking lot in Carrollwood transformed into a hustling and bustling drive-in movie theater.

Four businesses organized the event in the Lakeside shopping plaza off N. Dale Mabry.

They teamed up to rent a mobile billboard truck that was able to play a movie on both sides of the truck, allowing people to tune into their FM dial for even more social distancing.

"The goal is just to give back to the community," Kirby Lavallee, who operates The Cake Girl with his wife Kristina, said. "I mean, getting people out letting people know hey, let's be a community; let's work together."

The Cake Girl, along with Rustic Love Vintage and More, Vallarta's Mexican Restaurant and Your CBD Store Tampa all pitched in.

"We try to give back to the community as much as we can, and of course, we need them to support us, all of us that are small businesses cause without them we are nothing," Chichi Crocker, the owner of Rustic Love Vintage and More said. Because of COVID-19, the store's grand opening now delayed indefinitely, and she's lost a lot of money in sales.

"We have sleepless nights. We are just leaving it in God's hands and hope the community backs us up," Crocker said.

Crocker hopes they can rebound and get back to making sales so the store can stay in her family for generations to come.

The owner of Vallarta's had orders ready to deliver to the more than two dozen cars lined up to watch the movie. They also had to-go gallons of margaritas for parents to enjoy once the kids were asleep back at home.

Your CBD Store Tampa had an outdoor venue set up for people in the parking lot as well. And, Lavallee said they offered dollar cupcakes.

"Being relevant always staying on the move staying current with how to do sanitation, how to take orders online, how to ship all those things is really helping us to see some good results," Lavallee said.