'Keep the Cheer Here' campaign encourages shopping local this holiday season

"More important than ever"
Posted at 6:32 AM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-27 02:01:21-05

TAMPA, Fla. — A new campaign hopes to keep more people shopping local this holiday season as business owners in our community need help to rebound.

“This year more than ever, shopping local is going to be more important than ever,” said Kelly Flannery, President & CEO of the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

The South Tampa Chamber or Commerce is launching its new holiday shopping campaign,Keep the Cheer Here.

“We are encouraging shoppers to shop early, shop safe, and shop local throughout the holiday season,” said Flannery.

The purpose of the new campaign is to push people to honor small and local businesses throughout the community.

“I know that it’s tempting to shop online, to look for those great deals from large retailers, but for those who are able to just stop, take a moment and think, can I source this locally? Can I get this good or this service locally? That extra dollar or two you may end up paying is going to go to your neighbor,” said Flannery.

Officials say many Tampa Bay area shops have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There are many local retailers that see a large percentage of their annual profits that come in in these last two months of the year and so they’re really going to be hoping that these last two months are going to be positive, if not even a bigger revenue opportunity than it has been in past years because of what they potentially lost earlier in the year,” said Flannery.

“There are a lot of local restaurants that are also trying to capture some of that end of year revenue,” she added.

With safety at the forefront of everyone’s mind, many business owners have made some changes to help people feel more comfortable shopping local.

Those include:

  • Asking customers to wear face masks
  • Placing stickers on the floor for physical distancing
  • Providing hand sanitizer
  • Limiting how many people they allow in the store at one time

“One suggestion we’ve made to business owners is rather than having a one day Black Friday sale, or a one day Small Business Saturday sale, extend it throughout the entire weekend or even throughout the entire season so that people don’t feel pressured to go shop on that one day,” said Flannery.

To keep everyone safe, leaders are encouraging customers to respect any COVID-19 policies and protocols retailers and restaurants put in place.

There are also options for people who don’t feel comfortable shopping in person.

“There’s also a lot of businesses locally that are now offering goods and services online, and or offering curbside pick up,” said Flannery.

Some upcoming events where you can support local businesses are Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Giving Tuesday.