The Greenhouse, a small business assistance center in St. Petersburg, has launched an interactive map displaying small businesses city-wide.
The map is one of several initiatives underway for St. Pete Small Business Week, a week-long event to celebrate local business growth and the diverse voices in entrepreneurship.
The map shows the name of the business, its address and other contact information, as well as hours of operation and services offered. It’s designed to allow customers to easily find offers and services at both familiar companies and those that are new to them. View the map here.
It’s currently geared to businesses that want to add their information, said Jessica Eilerman, small business liaison to the mayor’s office and Greenhouse manager.
“Any and all businesses in St. Petersburg can participate in this,” Eilerman said. “This is another way to get awareness into the community, so we all know where to find you, how to access your deals and get your voice in front of more folks.”
That’s key for the local economy, said Mayor Rick Kriseman. The mayor and others kicked off St. Pete Small Business Week during a Facebook Live event, in lieu of an in-person gathering, because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kriseman called small businesses “the DNA of the city” and said they give the city its character.
“It’s also our small businesses that employ our residents overwhelmingly. They create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. every year, and certainly here in the city of St. Petersburg they do the same,” Kriseman said. “It’s more important now than it’s ever been that we make sure we take care of our small businesses, that we look out for them, that we try and shop at them whether the store is open or online. Let’s make sure we visit our small businesses and make sure they are getting our dollars. It’s also important that we as a community do those things we’ve got to do — from wearing a mask and social distancing and washing our hands and doing things the St. Pete way — so our businesses can keep their doors open. Because the worst thing that could happen right now is if we have to shut everything down again.”
Chris Steinocher, president and CEO of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, acknowledged the frustrations of doing business in the midst of the pandemic.
“We need all of our small businesses to mask up throughout this. Our numbers have really spiked up in the past few days,” Steinocher said. “Our city is enforcing the mask ordinance. Our chamber has asked for that. Business leadership has asked for that enforcement and it’s important, because we want to stay open. I need our businesses to continue to drive the economic vitality we’re seeing. So what you can do if you want to support a small business is wear a mask. And if you are running a small business and you’re tired and frustrated, and your employees and customers are frustrated, tell them the business needs to survive and let’s make sure we mask up.”
Large corporations, such as Duke Energy, rely on small businesses as well, said Catherine Stempien, president of Duke Energy Florida in St. Petersburg.
“I remember early on in the pandemic when there was a shortage of sanitizer and so many of the breweries and distilleries in town switched production, to make sure that our first responders and nursing homes could get this critical supply. That’s just one example of the many small businesses in St. Pete helping our community power through this pandemic,” Stempien said. “You have helped all of us by providing essential products and services at this time, and you have powered through the challenges we have seen since March.”
Both Duke Energy Florida and First Citrus Bank in Tampa are sponsors of St. Pete Small Business Week.
“Small businesses are the heroes to our company. We know they are the backbone of America,” said Jack Barrett, president and CEO of First Citrus Bank, which has a loan production office in St. Petersburg and is planning to open a full-service branch in the city.
He cited the bank’s commitment to small businesses. “Bankers were the economy’s first responders during the pandemic. We delivered over 1,200 loans to small businesses through Tampa Bay.”
An extensive list of events is planned for St. Pete Small Business Week. A full schedule is here.
Click here to view original article in St. Pete Catalyst