Small Business Saturday: Why shopping local is more important than ever

The holidays are a time of traditions and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Tampa) has made shopping local hers.

During the first post-vaccine holiday season, when many Americans are still discovering how their version of normal looks, retailers are also reinventing the idea of Black Friday shopping, with most online shops offering Black Friday deals throughout November. 

Castor wants everyone to remember the importance of a pre-pandemic shopping staple: Small Business Saturday.

During an appearance on the day before Thanksgiving in Carrollwood, Castor stood outside Whip And Spur tack shop, where bicycles from nearby Oliver’s Cycle Sports in New Tampa were on full display. Both are family businesses run by Randy and Bernadette Myhre, and family. 

"It’s always 24/7 when you own a small business, but it’s been 48/14," laughed Randy Myhre. 

First, they were hit by COVID-19. 

"We put orders on hold. We sent our employees home. We reduced to half days," said Bernadette.

The market for riding boots and bikes bounced back quickly, but supply chain issues have left them struggling once again. 

Thankfully, they had a secret weapon. 

They kept back-ordering products that would come in every 4-6 months which helped them maintain enough inventory to provide what people want this holiday season. 

"Maybe it’s a different color, maybe it's a slightly different model, but we could guide people into something they were happy with," said Randy, pointing out that personalized customer service is what being a small, local business is all about.

Their expert advice and attention to detail are pushing them through. 

"We’re focused on customer service," said Bernadette. "When a customer comes in, they get assisted, they don’t get a finger pointing to whatever they’re looking for."

Small business Saturday is November 27. 

Castor says 67 cents of every dollar spent at local businesses goes right back into the local economy.