SEMINOLE – The long-awaited launch of a “buy local” program in Seminole is now a reality.
The Greater Seminole Area Chamber of Commerce and Gulfport-based LocalShops1 have teamed up to form a new “Buy Local Seminole” campaign.
The partnership will allow Seminole-area businesses to become a part of LocalShops1, a Web-based marketing company that gives member businesses an opportunity to offer regular discounts and specials through the LocalShops1 website that more than 25,000 LocalShop1 members have access to.
LocalShops1, which was founded in 2008, currently has about 350 member businesses on board in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties. Each business can access the LocalShops1 website and update their pages to reflect specials or sales for a specific period.
“I feel it is imperative we do everything possible to support the local business community, which is why I believe so strongly in the LocalShops1 program,” said Seminole Chamber president Roger Edelman.
The program is beginning with 20 charter Buy Local Seminole members, who will be featured on a new website, BuyLocalSeminole.com, as well as on the Chamber and LocalShops1 sites.
“It has been great working with the Seminole Chamber to put together a program for their local businesses,” said Ester Venouziou, founder and president of LocalShops1. “Buy Local Seminole expands our existing 1Card program with the chamber’s many tools to help businesses.”
Member businesses pay $100 per year to join LocalShops1 and individual cardholders pay a one-time fee of $20 to participate.
As an incentive to increase membership, the Seminole Chamber is offering new chamber members a free 1-year LocalShops1 membership and 10 free individual cards for a total value of $300.
“The (individual) card gives the holder the opportunity to get discounts and be eligible for specials at a member discount,” said Edelman. “It’s really almost like a discount book.”
Edelman said there are about 1,400 businesses in Seminole that could benefit by joining the program.
“I think if we get 100 or 200 in, it would be great,” he said.
As an added incentive, Edelman said current Seminole Chamber members would get one individual membership card free ($20 value) when the business renews its chamber membership.
Venouziou said member businesses are all independent operations with no retail chains or “big box” stores. About 20 percent are restaurants and about 50 percent are retail, which is split between home-based businesses and brick-and-mortar companies.
Venouziou said LocalShops1 offers monthly meetings and socials for member businesses to get involved more and network with other businesses.
“The more you put into it, the more you get out of it,” she said.
For more information about joining, contact the Seminole Chamber at 392-3245.