Great Gift Ideas You Never Thought of That Help the Community!

shutterstock_208069540-2It’s that time of year again and we have less time to shop than ever! The holidays are only a few weeks away and who wants to go to the mall or spend endless hours surfing through online stores when your gift giving can be made so easy? If you could buy the perfect gifts quickly and help your communities’ families, wouldn’t you? Of course you would! Well every time you skip the mall or you’re not shopping online that’s exactly what you’re doing (unless it’s Etsy of course). What do I mean you ask? Well let me tell you.

Multiple studies show that small businesses reinvest in the local economy at a higher rate than chains do. For example, for every $100 spent at local businesses, $68 stays in the community, according to Amy Hartzler, director of communications for the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. That’s more than twice the amount chains reinvest. Here are 3 reasons consumers and small businesses benefit from you shopping locally this holiday season and throughout the year. Don’t be lazy, read it all 🙂… I mention some great local places at the end…

  1. We (your local businesses) Create More Local Jobs

Local businesses create the majority of economic growth, employing about 77 million Americans and improving stability within our neighborhoods. When we shop locally, more of our money stays local, so it has a direct impact.

Here’s the big difference. For every $10 million of spending at a local business it creates 57 jobs, whereas the same spending at Amazon creates just 14 jobs.  57 to 14–that speaks for itself.

  1. Local relationships grow

Bark Life 2- 158Shopping at small businesses provides access to local experts that know what products and services work best in your area. For example, at Bark Life we know what shampoos work for dogs with allergies to local plants, or flea issues.  A local landscaping store can tell you which type of plants grow best in your area. The best part of shopping local is, you receive more personalized service by establishing a relationship with the amazing staff that live in your neighborhood. Heck, you may even find a new friendship!

  1. Increased Home Values (yes, I said increased home values!)

According to Forbes Magazine, neighborhoods served by successful small businesses see home values increase 50 percent on average. “If your neighborhood is full of vibrant local businesses, then the value of your neighborhood will increase as it becomes more desirable”. Higher home values just for supporting local businesses, I bet you never thought the simple act of shopping small & local would do all of that now did you?

Besides the obvious, where are some great local places to shop here in Pinellas County? Well okay, let’s start with the obvious.


  •  Bark Life Market has everything for the pets and pet lovers in your life. Teachers, Moms, Dads, Secret Santa… Erika, Patty or Heaven can help you find the perfect gift. Sometimes a Gift Certificate is the answer, we have you covered. Don’t forget Bark Life is in Seminole & St. Pete


  • Overhead Surf Shop in Johns Pass: Brian and his amazing staff would love to show you gifts for everyone in your family. Everything from Costa sunglasses & Yeti Cups to cool Tee’s for him or her and maybe a new hat! Bryan and his wife are parents of 4 amazing dogs as well as a new little human celebrating her 1st Christmas


  • Let’s stay in the Pass for one more, Hubbard’s Fishing Trips! Dylan and the crew will help you pick a truly unique gift for the water lovers in your life. He is carrying on the family tradition of Hubbard’s offshore fishing trips and a half or full day charter is sure to be a huge hit as a gift. Something must be in the “water” down there in Johns Pass, Dylan and his wife are the proud parents of the amazing Sig (yes he’s a dog 🙂) and they also have a new bundle of boy…I mean joy, that will also be celebrating his 1st Christmas


  • You could even attach a ticket to board the boat on a New fishing pole you’ve  purchased at Dogfish Tackle in Seminole, did I mention what an incredible selection of gifts they have? Talk to Dave, Joe, or any of the great staff there, they will even give you some great pointers on local fishing spots


  • Do you like to fill your tummy before shopping? Want to do both at the same time? You’re going to want to kiss me for this one… Sweet Sage Café on North Redington Beach. This place has the best breakfast in Florida! I wouldn’t lie to you. Not only is their food off the chart, the entire place is a boutique. No, it’s not too “girly” for men, as a matter a fact, it’s Mikey’s favorite place to go! Oh, don’t forget to bring your pups, they even have a doggie menu. Owners John and his wife are the parents of 2 beautiful bulldogs who most likely be there when you go! Say Hi to Heather, one of the servers. If you ask, I’ll bet she will show you a picture of her little Princess Eva (yep, she’s a dog too)


  • Last but not least, at all! Sign Of The Dolphin. There are no words for their amazing selection of everything Florida. From home décor and funny napkins and glasses, to jewelry and clothes.  You will love shopping at this local favorite. Tell all of the ladies Bark Life sent you


I could go on and on about the amazing local businesses that we are blessed to have in our area, but you have shopping to do! Look, I’m not saying you shouldn’t use the big guys sometimes but if you can buy local, DO IT! We all need more exercise, so it doesn’t have to be delivered to your door 🙂.

Thanks for reading! If you like my blog then please share it with these handy dandy little buttons >>>> If you didn’t like it, what’s wrong with you?! Just kidding.  Have something you would like me to Blog about? Email me @ Thank you all again for being so Awesome!

Bark On… Tammy Vasquez

Co-Founder of Bark Life Inc

bark life-4597








Share this post