Shopping and Sharing to support local small businesses

Linda Quinn, Chief Petal Pusher at FlowerFive in Tampa, decided to channel her creative side and devise a plan to help local small businesses when the pandemic struck.
Quinn is a member of several community groups on Facebook. One day, she stumbled upon a post where a member suggested others spend their dollars this holiday by buying gift cards from local small businesses.

"My muse nudged at me to help fellow small business owners by spreading a list of local small businesses who offer gift cards," Quinn says. She gathered business names and contact information into a handy list and posted it to social media. 

"COVID has hurt a lot of small businesses. Historically big box and corporate stores get the lion's share of holiday shoppers," says Quinn. "Small local businesses are still at risk of losing everything in more ways than one this holiday season. The challenging component of celebrating the holiday during a pandemic is everyone is struggling this year."
Networking is at the root of this project for Quinn. "I think that there are too many people that they fail to get the concept of what networking is," she says. It's 'Hey, if I'm talking to Allison and I hear that Allison is throwing a big party and one of my locations is Chocolate Pi who makes fabulous cake, I'm going to tell Allison about...' It's that type of thing. It's not, 'Oh, this is what I sell. Here's my stuff. Come and buy from me.'

Quinn wants to meet more area business owners to support and hold each other up in this time of crisis. She started FlowerFive, a pop-up flower buggy, in 2019. The concept is fresh curated bouquets for $5. Not only does the Shopping and Sharing project help small local businesses, but it helps to spread the word about FlowerFive to potential host locations and new customers and, in turn, drives traffic to pop-up spots.  

While the Shopping and Sharing list is perfect for the holiday season, Quinn would like to keep building and sharing it year-round. "It would be great if it becomes a vehicle for an alliance of small businesses who really want to unify to help each other," Quinn says. 

To view the businesses on the Shopping and Sharing list, visit FlowerFiveNow.

Read more articles by Allison Koehler.

Allison Koehler is a Cleveland-area native who now lives in Tampa by way of Detroit. She resides in Seminole Heights with her partner, Phil, and three children -- one human and two cats. When she isn't writing, she's watching pro football, listening to music, or streaming Netflix and Amazon Prime.