Local businesses unite for the holidays

Dozens of local vendors gathered outside of the UTC Mall for the Holiday Mega Market. This to...
Dozens of local vendors gathered outside of the UTC Mall for the Holiday Mega Market. This to provide a one-stop shop for consumers and encourage them to shop local.(Jace Harper)
Published: Dec. 4, 2022 at 5:27 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Dozens of local vendors gathered outside of the UTC Mall for the Holiday Mega Market. This to provide a one-stop shop for consumers and encourage them to shop local.

Whether it’s woodwork, hand crafted gourd lanterns, or a gift for your furry friends—dozens of local businesses worked to make sure you could find what you’re looking for.

Jonathan Roberti and his wife started “House of Blonde CEO” during the pandemic and said they have a deep appreciation for other local businesses and those who patronize them.

“Small businesses are the life blood of the economy,” he said. “To see 160 local businesses small businesses here in Sarasota is absolutely phenomenal. It really is a big jolt to the economy locally and here in Florida.”

Samantha Somers was another vendor at the event. After leaving corporate America permanently last year—she’s now a local business owner that specializes in laser woodworking called “A Mid Somers Nap”. She said woodworking is a skill she learned by teaching herself and watching YouTube videos.

“We turned the machine on for the first time. I had never touched a piece of wood or a laser in my life. We’ve now been doing this for a year and everything here is self-taught,” she said.

Somers said she’s grateful for people who are choosing to shop local this holiday season. She even had one customer tell her they were making sure all of their gifts came from small businesses.

It’s a gesture people like Roberti said he’s excited to hear.

“I’m super excited about it. Especially after this year we’ve had a lot of things here from the hurricanes to the different things people are coming off of. It really does bring people together, gets them in the holiday spirit, and gets them excited,” said Roberti.