Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Happy First Birthday, Local Shops1 !!!!

Let's face it: those of us who run small local businesses have few champions for our cause. And with the decline in the economy, driving customers through the door is a bit tougher these days.

We've got someone in our corner, though. Localshops1, the brainchild of savvy St. Pete journalist Ester Venouziou, has been a trumpet for local retail and small business in the Tampa Bay area for the last year.

The Localshops1 site is nothing less than a phenomenon; the network web is a far-reaching support system for local places that may not get attention otherwise. Our local retail shops, restaurants and services are like hidden gems among the area. Ester's endeavor brings us right to the shine.

And to think, this whole thing started to get Ester's mother away from the malls when she came to visit. The tentative list of great local places to shop has exploded over the last year.

And today, Localshops1 celebrates it first birthday! The local shopper girl got herself a bit of a make-over, the website got just a little more spiffy, and Ester won herself $250,000 in a marketing contest to promote local businesses. I'd say Localshops1 has much to celebrate!

It's free for local small retail and services to get listed on the site. And the value of word of mouth is priceless.

So let's pause and appreciate all this. Come celebrate with us tonight at the Tables Restaurant in St. Petersburg, 535 Central Avenue. The festivities kick off at 7 p.m. Good food, good friends, good entertainment!

Congratulations, Localshops1 and Ester! And thank you, from your local small business fans!