Still feeling the impact from the red tide, local businesses hope for a strong Small Business Saturday

Still feeling the impact from the red tide, local businesses hope for a strong Small Business Saturd

SARASOTA (WWSB) -Some local businesses are still feeling the affects of this year’s red tide bloom, with some Downtown Sarasota shops down 25% compared to this time last year.

That's why locally owned stores in both Downtown Sarasota and St. Armands Circle are hoping shoppers will turn out this weekend for Small Business Saturday, a time when people are encouraged to support local businesses.

"Discounts, promotions, things that go on past Black Friday," said Downtown Sarasota Alliance President, Francine Difilippo.

Local stores like The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime said it’s important for locals to support one another.

“We can’t compete with the big box stores. We don’t have the marketing budgets, we don’t have the amount of energy that they have to market their businesses,” said Kim Livengood, who works with The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime.

This is especially important to business owners like Barbra Pugliese, who owns Just Because on St. Armands Circle and experienced the impact of the red tide.

"We probably had about a week and a half where it was a ghost town out here so red tide really did affect us," said Pugliese.

Pugliese said during that time some businesses on the circle were down 60 to 70%, so putting money back into the community would be beneficial.

"For every $100 you spend, $68 stays in your community. When you shop at a big box store, only $43 is staying in your community and you may no think it's a big deal but when you times that by thousands of dollars, it's a huge amount of money," Pugliese said.

And that money is what keeps mom and pop shops alive.

"Everything that we have here, it's so easy to take it for granted. If you don't support it, it's not going to be there," said Difilippo.

If a shop is participating in Small Business Saturday, they should have a shop local sign in their store window.

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