A column in Forbes magazine says it best: “Supporting the small businesses in your community creates local jobs and keeps the local economy strong and healthy, but more than that, they help make our communities places where we want to live.” Here are four Tampa Bay businesses doing just that. — Ester Venouziou, LocalShops1 founder & Live Local! editor
John Riesebeck constantly gives back to the community by sponsoring the food at fundraisers and offering free space for nonprofit events. His restaurant, Smokin’ J’s BBQ in Gulfport,
recently hosted Beaming Hope Church’s community outreach program, which gives groceries and clothes to those in need. Not only did the restaurant let them use their space for free, but
they also helped get the word out about the event, bringing in more than 100 residents, and they kicked in free hot dogs for everyone. A few weeks later they set up a booth at a volleyball tournament, and gave all the profits to VETSports, a nonprofit that helps helps veterans.
Taking care of their own
Jason Sulisufay and his staff at Jessi’s Restaurant in Pinellas Park helped one of their servers fighting breast cancer find low-cost health insurance and they set up a crowdfunding campaign that raised more than $3,000. The restaurant also linked her with Women with Purpose, a nonprofit that helped with rent money. Jason’s efforts were recognized by the National Restaurant Association, awarding Jessi’s the 2015 Restaurant Neighbor Award in Florida. “I love giving back to the community when possible,” Jason says.
Pam Adams recently came across a man whose home was in desperate need of a paint job. The homeowner was going through tough times — his wife had left him and his sister died of breast cancer — so he was alone to take care of his three children. Pam, owner of Gulf Coast Painting & Waterproofing in St. Petersburg, offered to do the job first and collect payments later, in small, manageable installments. “It’s not about giving people hand-outs,” Pam explains. “We just try to do our best to help someone who’s in need, someone who deserves it.”
Supporting other local businesses
When Robin and Jack King moved to St. Petersburg and opened Three Birds Tavern, they immersed themselves in the community. They make it a point to do business with other locally owned businesses and they go out of their way to help promote and help as needed, especially ones just starting out. Most recently they hosted a book launch party for local author Cheryl Hollon. “I truly believe that we rise by lifting others,” says Robin. “But moreover, I feel internal joy watching my friends and colleagues experience success. It just makes each day a little brighter.”
Live Local! magazine is a LocalShops1 publication.
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