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Seminole Heights, Ybor small businesses prepare for holiday shoppers

Special Correspondent
Published: November 27, 2013 Updated: November 29, 2013 at 09:39 AM
Kendra Bailey is the owner of Health Mutt, a specialty pet food store in Seminole Heights, which will participate in Saturdayís Nov. 30 Holiday Shop Hop in Seminole Heights, a celebration of Small Business Saturday. She serves as president of the Business Guild of Seminole Heights. LENORA LAKE

TAMPA — Small businesses in Seminole Heights and Ybor City are looking toward Small Business Saturday this week as a way to reconnect with customers and introduce others to their wares.

Both areas are planning special promotions on the national day started four years ago by American Express. Organizers in both areas want to lure shoppers who can buy handcrafted gifts, beauty supplies, pet products, antiques, specialty clothing, foods and more.

Seminole Heights will host Holiday Shop Hop from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday with 12 shops, spas and art studios participating. The Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association and the Business Guild of Seminole Heights are the sponsors.

Each location will have food and beverages, said Greg Curtis, owner of Cleanse Apothecary, one of the organizers of the event.

Shoppers who have a card stamped for visiting six of the shops are entered into a drawing for one of 12 door prizes donated by the merchants.

“In Seminole Heights, people rally around us, whether it is a small shop or a restaurant,” Curtis said. “Last year our Small Business Saturday was gangbusters.”

Kendra Bailey, president of the business guild, said her store, Health Mutt, will have food from a Seminole Heights restaurant, The Mermaid, and French Bulldog Rescue Network will be onsite.

“I like to create an all neighborhood feel and promote the uniqueness of the independent shops,” Bailey said.

Meanwhile, Ybor City and its Ybor City Saturday Market also are preparing for shoppers.

The market at Centennial Park on Eighth Avenue is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. This Saturday, shoppers who spend $20 or more with any vendor can get a free reusable shopping bag from the market organizers, said Lynn Schultz, the market’s executive director.

“The last two years, people have really thrown their support behind Small Business Saturday,” Schultz said.

Ybor City shops along Seventh and Eighth Avenue also are preparing for the day.

Jill Wax, owner of LaFrance, a vintage clothing store on Seventh Avenue, said the holiday season is “major. We live off the holiday season for a while.”

Wax was among about 100 business owners and supporters who volunteered Nov. 17 to decorate the Latin Quarter for the holidays.

Mathieu Stanoch, co-chair of the history holiday decorating committee and owner of One Tin Soldier Productions, said, “Everybody has a stake in making it successful for the holidays.”