This new website is Amazon for St. Pete businesses, here’s how you can support local right now

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Ester Venouziou, founder of LocalShops1, is one of the most vocal advocates for supporting small, locally-owned businesses, makers, and artists in the Tampa Bay region. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a new burden on those very entrepreneurs who rely on our bustling market scene to reach customers. Venouziou has just launched a new online marketplace for locals to sell their handcrafted products. Welcome to Buy Local Tampa Bay.

LocalShops1’s new online shopping site is designed help local businesses in these especially tough times — and all Tampa Bay-based artists, makers and independently owned small businesses may participate for free.

LocalShops1 subsidized costs to develop, maintain, and advertise the site. Payments go directly to the small business, and LocalShops1 is not taking any cut of profit for the time being.

In just a short amount of time, hundreds of businesses, artists and makers have listed their items on this website.

In the first month of operation, sales were close to $6,500. But the organization had loftier goals. To help, I Love the Burg, along with That’s So Tampa, partnered with LocalShops1 to launch the Million Dollar Mission. Infusing this much money into the local economy is simple math. The surge in community support has helped showcase the resiliency of Tampa Bay.

Makers can list up to 5 products each on the website. Current participating businesses include Sticker Bundles by Moonlight Stickers, St. Pete Mugs by MudJoy Pottery, and Hot Sauce from the Saucy Queen.

We’re not alone in partnering up for the launch. Rob Sanchez of WannaGo St. PeteThe EDGE District, Deuces Live, City Council Member Brandi Gabbard, and St. Pete DNA  are all involved to help lift up our local artists, bakers, makers and businesses.

“As an advocate for our small business community, I have always stood with the owners, artists and makers who are at the heart of why St Petersburg is such an amazing place,” St. Pete Councilmember Brandi J. Gabbard told ilovetheburg.com. “Now more than ever it is important that we come together as a community and support those who have shared of their time and their talents with us for so long. I hope that the community will join me in shopping the virtual marketplace and putting money in the hands of those who need it the most!”

The new online shopping site is designed help local businesses in these especially trying times — and all Tampa Bay-based artists, makers and independently owned small businesses may participate for FREE.

Here are a few items to inspire your shopping:

Pickles from Smokin’ J’s BBQ.

Fresh Studio Gelato Pints.

Classic Caramel Popcorn Bundle from iPop Gourmet.

Historic Neighborhood T-Shirts from Neighborhoodies.

St. Pete Mugs from MudJoy Pottery.

Black Walnut and Poison Apple Resin Charcuterie Board

Clock from St Pete artist Twisted Picks.

A St. Pete-inspired shirt from Zazoo’d.

Kindness Matters Cloth Mask.

Wine Bottle Succulent Planter.

Face masks from St Pete artist Pippa Hill, Jacaranda Hill.

Gator girl print, from St Pete artist Gianna Pergamo, Pergamo Paper Goods.

Sunshine Sampler from Florida Pure Sea Salt.

Florida Sticker Pack from Fox  Crow Paper Co.

YUJ Granola Bites by YUJ Granola.

Brazilian-style Gluten-Free Cheese Bread by Brazilian Fun Foods

You can browse the entire selection of locally made items on buylocaltampabay.com.

Those interested in selling products on the site can inquire online.

LocalShops1 is also behind Shopapalooza which. brings together hundreds of makers, artists, and restaurants for an event that provides a major boost to the local economy. The 11th annual event is currently scheduled for November 28 and 29.

Keep up with everything LocalShops1 is up to by following the organization on its Website, Facebook and Instagram.

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Written by Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan is the Editor of ilovetheburg.com. Follow him on Twitter @harlanyoungII and Instagram @harlanyoung. Send tips and potential stories to info@ilovetheburg.com.