Welcome to LocalShops1! Our organization was founded in August 2008, and our mission is to provide advocacy, support and education to locally owned, independent businesses in the Tampa Bay region.
In addition to coordinating and marketing extensive Buy Local, Eat Local, Live Local! campaigns, we offer collaborative promotions, vendor opportunities, pop-up shop space, business socials, and marketing services (including design, editing, writing, press releases, social media and websites). We also publish Live Local! magazine.
Office and pop-up shop: 2908 Beach Blvd S, Gulfport FL 33707
Mailing address: PO Box 530144, St Petersburg FL 33747
How can I make my profile page really stand out?
Our website is packed with features including blogs, photo galleries & more. You can access all these areas after you log in, under the Manage Profile link on the top right. Grab a cup of coffee or tea, and play around with all the features available there. You can create a library and upload files, for example. This is great place for menus and fliers. You can choose whether the file is just for your use, or if you want to share with other members and/or the general public. You can also connect with other members, manage your email preferences, even create your own custom URL.
What's a custom URL and how can I create one?
A custom URL gives you a quick, easy link to get people to your page. User-friendly URLs are also good for SEO (search engine optimization; technical term that basically means it makes it easier for people to find you during Google searches. To create your own URL, just log in and go to "manage profile." Click on "Edit Bio" icon, and then up on top, you'll see option to create your own URL. Go ahead, try it.
I'm having a customer-appreciation party this month. Can you help me spread the word?
Of course! Members can list events they host at their business for free in our online calendar, and we'll even include a bonus free "Tweet" about it to our followers, and include them on our events album on Pinterest. Please note that the event must take place at your own business for you to receive your free listing. If you are participating or sponsoring an event elsewhere, we ask that the hosting business join LocalShops1, so we can promote them, too.
To list your event, click on the Events tab. We also offer advertising options if you'd like a bigger marketing push, including social media campaigns on Facebook and Instagram, online ads, and print ads in our Live Local! magazine. We can also help with all your marketing materials, from brochure/postcard designs to website content and more. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your project and for pricing information.
How about Facebook and Instagram? I keep hearing you're all really into that. How can I join in on the fun?
We LOVE social media! Having a massive presence on the social networks allows us to promote your business to more and more people every day. We have more than 70,000 "likes" and "followers" across our pages on the Facebook, Instagram and Twitter platforms. And more on Pinterest and Google+ too! When you first join LocalShops1 (and again when you renew), we post a welcome greeting that goes out to everyone. And throughout the year we try to link to members whenever possible.
You can also take advantage of our active social networks by being an active participant on our Facebook discussions and posting on our wall; or by following us on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. We'll follow you back and tag you in posts, helping you increase your fan base, too. We also have an active members-only group on Facebook. Are you on it? If not, send Facebook Friend Request to Ester Venouziou and she'll get you on it!
I'm really loving the website and all the online networking all over the place. But I need to get out of the house. Any perks out in the real world?
Of course! Our brick-and-mortar office is at 2908 Beach Blvd S in Gulfport, and there we offer free space for you to display your business cards and brochures. The space also features a monthly resident artist, one-day pop-up shops, collaborative shopping expos and more. We're also available to help with all your marketing needs, including website and blog content, business profiles, graphic design (print and digital) and website design. Members always get reduced a la carte rates.
Your membership also includes free admission to our monthly socials (the second Thursday of every month), reduced-cost admission to many of our special events, and reduced fees or priority notice for vending opportunities. You can see what's coming up and register for events in our Events Calendar. We often also partner with other community organizations to bring you reduced or free admission to their events, too. Keep checking back to see what we add.
Any educational opportunities?
Yes! We host workshops that feature great speakers that can help you grow your business. Our past speakers have included accountants, social media experts, public relation specialists, and more. Keep an eye out on our Events calendar for opportunities.
Now let's talk money. Can you help me sell my products or make more money?
We can sure try! We offer several vendor opportunities throughout the year. Some are large vendor expos (Shopapalooza!), some are specialty events (like our annual top local chef competition), and some are vendor spaces at our mixers and our pop-up shop. We've also designed the 1Card to be a revenue-generating product for our business partners. You may buy 1Card packages at wholesale cost, and resell at the retail value of $20 each. Make sure you're logged in so you can get member pricing when you order.
Can you help save me money, too?
Yes, of course! Just grab your 1Card and go shopping at fellow member businesses. Also, we offer co-op advertising and marketing opportunities at extremely reduced prices. We also offer members 10 percent off advertising in our swanky magazine, Live Local! It's published in print and digitally and reaches a gazillion people.
And if you need editing or design of business cards, banners, brochures, websites and other marketing materials, we can help, too! Our Hire a Journalist division offers full design services (print and digital), as well as writing, editing, social media marketing and business consulting.
Is there anything I can do to help YOU?
Yes, thanks for asking! The No. 1 thing you can do is help us spread the word.
You can do that by bringing friends to events, sharing links to our Facebook page and by referring friends and colleagues to our website. We also have some handy links with fliers and other information that you may share online or print and post.
AND NOW IT'S YOUR TURN!