LARGO — The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a devastating blow to the economy, and small businesses bore the brunt of it.
Largo is home to about 4,000 of those small businesses and they could use some love, which is why the city of Largo is once again teaming up with Tampa Bay Newspapers during Small Business Month to hold the Best of Largo contest.
The seventh annual contest will honor four businesses owned and operated by local entrepreneurs.
Voting will begin Oct. 29 at BestofLargo.TBNweekly.com and will end on Nov. 19. Only businesses that are within Largo's municipal boundary are eligible. Participants may only vote once per day per email address.
The contest is divided into four categories: Retail, Restaurant, Business/Service and Home-based Business.
The winners will be announced in the Nov. 26 edition of Tampa Bay Newspapers and will be featured in a December edition.
Breaking down the categories
• The “Retail” category recognizes businesses that sell everything from groceries, clothes and shoes to those that sell cars, hardware and pet supplies. Small boutiques are included.
• “Restaurant” includes casual and formal sit-down establishments as well as a drive-thru, bars, taverns and coffee shops or cafes.
• The “Business/Service” category includes all medical services and other service providers from accountants to insurance companies, as well as manufacturers, salons and mechanics.
• “Home-based Business” recognizes residents who operate their business out of a home, including housekeeping and repair businesses as well as tech-based businesses operating remotely, or artists with a home studio.
The contest is just one of several ways the city is promoting and helping small businesses in November.
On Each Sunday in November, the city will be shining the spotlight on local restaurants with a Restaurant Roundup event at Largo Central Park from noon to 4 p.m.
The drive-thru event will bring in area restaurants to Lot 1 in Largo Central Park, where patrons will drive up, peruse the menu and call to order their food. Just tell the restaurant your spot number and they'll bring your food right to your car. Both cash and touchless payment options available.
For businesses looking to hold an event, there is no charge for temporary events during the month of November. Businesses are encouraged to host sidewalk sales, tent sales, or other shopping-related events through the community with CDC guidelines and social distancing in place. The $75 temporary event fee will not be charged, however, businesses must submit the temporary event permit application at least 10 business days before to the event for review. Call 727-587-6700, ext. 7301 or email AskAPlanner@Largo.com for more information.