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LocalShops1 First Birthday Bash, August 2009

August 2009: It's standing-room only at our 1st Birthday Bash! 
And every year it gets bigger & bigger!

Our history. 8.8.008 to Today!

LocalShops1 is a grassroots effort founded 8.8.2008.

Our mission is to provide advocacy, support and education to locally owned, small businesses in the Tampa Bay region.

Advocacy & Publicity!

LocalShops1's efforts to promote the importance of shopping locally have been featured all over the news, including Tampa Bay Times (previously the St. Petersburg Times), tbt*, Tampa Tribune,,, Creative Loafing, Small Business Trends, 10News, Fox News, Bay News 9 and dozens of other local, regional and national news outlets and blogs.



Awards & Honors!

LocalShops1 is at the forefront of the Buy Local movement, and has received dozens of awards, including Best Voice for Small Businesses by Creative Loafing magazine, Tampa Bay's third-largest publication. LocalShops1 has also been honored in ceremonies featuring companies for Best Collaboration Efforts, Best Business Practices and Best Use of Social Media, among others.


Our timeline: A few of the highlights!


August 2008:  LocalShops1 launches

March 2009:   LocalShops1 wins the Perfect Pitch, a live marketing competition at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The prize: a $250,000 marketing package including newspaper and television ads. (Much thanks to Jennifer Steele & Pat Largo for performing the skit written by Ester Venouziou, LocalShops1 founder)

August 2009:   A crowd of more than 300 attend the LocalShops1 birthday bash in St. Petersburg. The event makes television news

September 2009:
LocalShops1 founder Ester Venouziou is finalist, Businesswoman of Year (Tampa Bay Business Journal)

March 2010:  Venouziou is a finalist for Community Servicewoman of the Year ( St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce)

August 2010:  A sell-out crowd at our 2nd birthday bash and first-ever Business and Shopper Awards in Safety Harbor

September 2010:  
LocalShops1 voted Best of the Bay: Best Voice for Small Businesses by Creative Loafing

November 2010: Mayor Bill Foster and the City of St. Petersburg proclaim an independent business day in honor of LocalShops1.

November 2010: LocalShops1’s Shopapalooza packs BayWalk in downtown St. Petersburg. The event is covered by Fox News, 10 News and the St. Petersburg Times, which writes: was able to do what BayWalk management hasn’t been able to do in years: Bring customers

November 2010: LocalShops1 is featured on both 10 News and Fox News, discussing the importance of shopping locally every day, and especially during the holidays

January 2011:  Venouziou named to board of directors of Creative Tampa Bay

March 2011:  LocalShops1 honored at the Tampa Bay Business Journal BizTech Awards: Best Use of Social Media.

June 2011: is honored at the statewide Sustainable Florida Awards in Orlando. LS1 is one of only six finalists for Best Business Practices, small business category.

August 2011: LocalShops1 celebrates its third birthday and the first-ever LS1 Biz Blast at the Gulfport Casino.

August 2011: LocalShops1 honored by the Tampa Bay Business Journal's first-ever reader awards, ranking in the top 10 best leads groups in the Tampa Bay area.

September 2011: LocalShops1 received honorable mentions by the Small Business Trends' nationwide Small Business Influencer Award. Also, in the popular vote, the company ranked 33rd overall and No. 10 in its category, among more than 530 entries.

October 2011: City of St. Petersburg proclaims LocalShops1 Day in honor of its efforts to promote the Buy Local movement in the area.

November 2011: LocalShops1's second annual Shopapalooza takes place at the iconic St. Petersburg Pier, with more than 60 vendors and 700 shoppers.

January 2012: LocalShops1 brings the first-ever Cash Mobs to the Tampa Bay region.

February 2012: LocalShops1 is selected as the Tampa Bay network for BALLE, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. BALLE is the nation's most active and respected non-profit dedicated to sustainability and entrepreneurship.

March 2012: LocalShops1 is honored at the Tampa Bay Business Journal's BizTech Awards, Best Collaboration, for its work with YourMembership in St. Petersburg.

August 2012: A sell-out crowd packs LocalShops1's fourth Birthday Bash and Business Awards. The event gets news coverage in 10News, several local news websites and the Tampa Bay Times, which calls LocalShops1 a "trendsetter" and leader in the region's Buy Local movement.

November 2012: Shopapalooza, our annual local alternative to Black Friday, packs South Straub Park in downtown St. Petersburg. The festival is featured on Bay News 9 and draws 5,000+ shoppers.

December 2012: LocalShops1 named Finalist in Forbes Magazine's Most Promising Companies.

January 2013: LocalShops1 receives the Good 'Burger award from the St. Petersburg Chamber, in the community service & non-profits category.

January 2013: Buy Local Seminole campaign launched as a partnership between LocalShops1 and the Seminole Area Chamber of Commerce.


August 2013: LocalShops1 celebrates its fifth anniversary & Best in Biz awards. The event is featured on the evening news on three stations!  


August 2013: LocalShops1 founder Ester Venouziou is a finalist in Tampa Bay Business Journal's Businesswoman of the Year awards.

June 2014: LocalShops1 launches Live Local! magazine, bringing experts, tips and trends from the businesses, artists and non-profits make Tampa Bay such a vibrant community.

July 2014: LocalShops1 founder Ester Venouziou named a Good 'Burger by the St. Petersburg Chamber

November 2014: LocalShops1 celebrates its fifth annual Shopapalooza Festival. The event, recognized as one of St. Pete's premier events, kicks off the Local Shopping holiday season.


July 2015: LocalShops1 partners with the Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg to help spotlight local artists.

August 2015: LocalShops1 celebrates its seventh anniversary with a sold-out crowd at the Museum of Fine Arts in downtown St. Petersburg. 

September 2015: LocalShops1 initiates a petition asking the city of St. Petersburg to change its RFP for the new Pier restaurant, to even out the playing field for local entrepreneurs. The petition has overwhelming support and the city amends its RFP.

Perfect Pitch winnersLocalShops1 Girl visits Historic Shed

LocalShops1 Boy?