Right around this time of year is something of an economic dead zone for restaurants and shops, especially in tourism-heavy regions like the Tampa Bay area.
Throw in a hurricane that drove the bulk of the population to either flee or lock themselves inside for days — and widespread power outages in — and many local businesses find themselves on the brink of going under. Workers who rely on wages and tips find themselves coming up short.
That scenario is playing out for many local businesses in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
So in St. Petersburg, a city where mom-and-pops have helped maintain a colorful atmosphere, officials and small business leaders want to keep local businesses from going under.
And they need your help.
During Thursday's City Council meeting, Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin read a proclamation declaring next week "Burg Buy Local Week."
Tomalin cited a "cash crisis" from which many local businesses and nonprofits are suffering due to a solid week of relatively scarce cash flow.
“The goal of the week is to infuse our local businesses and economy by supporting our local and neighborhood businesses in all industries as we recover from Irma,” she said. “Please spend your money at your favorite St. Pete stores.”
So, instead of, say, heading to Publix for...say...baking soda, or Total Wine for that rosé, head to Rollin' Oats. Or use whatever money you didn't spend on batteries and bottled water two weeks ago and go to dinner.
“September is already probably the worst month for our local businesses to get through without a hurricane. So right now we need our community to step up and support, because our local businesses have actually supported our community,” said Olga Bof of Keep St. Petersburg Local said on Thursday. “This is the time when we could see local businesses and nonprofits close their doors, close their operations. This is serious. We need your help.”
Tomalin said she urges St. Pete residents to “buy local next week and as often as their lives allow.”
Or, you know, treat yo self, but do so within your means.
“Now's the time for that massage you've been keeping on the to-do list,” Bof said