The Local Million Dollar Mission looks to provide major boost to the Tampa Bay economy

Assortment of locally made goods: st. Pete t-shirt, st. Pete mug, and cloth masks
smith and associates

LocalShops1 is on a mission to boost the Tampa Bay economy. At the start of this pandemic Ester Venouziou launched a brand new online market, think like an Etsy or Amazon exclusively for Tampa Bay makers.

In the first month of operation, sales were close to $6,500. But the organization has loftier goals. To help, I Love the Burg, along with That’s So Tampa, have partnered with LocalShops1 to launch the Million Dollar Mission. Infusing this much money into the local economy is simple math. In short, we need 50,000 people to each spend $20 (or more) with their favorite local makers and small businesses on our marketplace.

Assorted Cloth Face Masks

Cotton 2 layer face mask by Made in St. Pete

Local organizations partner to raise local economy 

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.

LocalShops1 is subsidizing costs to develop, maintain and promote the sprawling website. Payments go directly to the small business, and LocalShops1 is not taking any cut of profit for the time being.

Photo of cheese bread

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

Sweets and handmade goods feature on the market 

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, Necklaces by Kapfer Glass Studio, Decorate Your Own Cupcake Kits from JB’s Sweet Addiction, and Hot Sauce from the Saucy Queen.

“All the exposure from the online market was helpful for my business but also my mental state,” said Beth Miranda, owner of MudJoy Pottery. “And when you support local art/artists you are complimenting them…You are saying they are worth your money.” Artists are in the fabric of our regions DNA, and so integral to St. Pete’s exponential growth.

Photo of a table with resin down the center

Resin table by Bear Creek Custom Timber

Here are a few items to inspire your shopping:

St. Pete Mugs from MudJoy Pottery.

Clock from St Pete artist Twisted Picks.

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

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.

YUJ Granola Bites by YUJ Granola.

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

Browse the full selection

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 behind some of the best food and entertainment events in the region.

Tiny Home Festival is set to take place on December 19 and 20 this year.

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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.