TAMPA, Fla. - Christina Arenas says a business in a little bungalow brings what a big box store can't - a personal touch.
"It also brings a social connection,” she said.
Arenas owns the Blue Sage Eco Boutique in Seminole Heights and is one in a growing number of small business people promoting local and sustainable products.
"Our neighborhood is unique and our neighborhood supports our unique businesses here," says Danielle Ferrari, owner of Valhalla.
Her store sells memberships to customers who essentially rent clothing. She says it's a more sustainable alternative to conventional clothing stores. Valhalla is next door to a natural pet store in an area of Tampa where many seek out alternatives to mainstream shopping.
"We're going to be living through a great transformation in the coming decades," says U.S. Representative Kathy Castor (D-Tampa) who serves on a congressional committee on sustainability.
Castor combined her seasonal call for shopping local with a push to shop sustainable.
"We have to alter our behavior, so it's wonderful to see these local, small businesses responding to that," she says.
Merchants are holding a Shop Hop through the holiday shopping season. If customers visit a certain number of local stores they can qualify for a prize drawing.