LocalShops1 Honors Long-standing Businesses 

All 10 veteran businesses were given awards as well as public recognition at the LocalShops1’s Community Awards and 11th Birthday Bash on Sunday, September 8 at The Vinoy. “Veteran business owners got to speak to aspiring businesses, and it was really inspiring,” said LocalShops1 owner Ester Venouzio.

When LocalShops1 owner Ester Venouzio founded her local business promotional service in Gulfport, she hoped to create friendly relationships between small shops and the community. 

Eleven years later, 150 prominent area business owners and involved locals gathered at Marchand’s restaurant at the historic Vinoy Renaissance hotel in downtown St. Petersburg on Sunday, September 8, for LocalShops1’s Community Awards and 11th Birthday Bash. 

“It was awesome, a beautiful venue really,” Venouzio said. “It really gave people the opportunity to connect.” 

From 4 to 7 p.m., 10 long-standing local businesses were honored with awards, including several from the Gulfport area. 

“Gulfport itself is pretty much all local businesses,” Venouzio said, “and this celebrated them in general.” 

Among the entrepreneurs, speakers included St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Dr. Kanika Tomalin, and Carolina Leid, journalist with 10News WTSP, who acted as host for the event. 

“People really took the chance to collaborate,” Venouzio said. 

Recipients of LocalShops1’s Community Awards are

  •  Helena Josephs, Island Flavors and Tings and The Caterer, Gulfport
  •  Jo-Anne Peck, Historic Shed, Brooksville
  •  John Riesebeck, Smokin’ J’s Real Texas BBQ in Gulfport, Gulfport
  •  Julie Burch and Richard Valmain, Grand Kitchen + Bath, St. Petersburg
  •  Laurie and Marc Georgian, Treehouse Gallery, St. Petersburg
  •  Maddy and Joe Guenther, O’Maddy’s Bar and Grille and Botiki, Gulfport
  •  Michele Northrup, Intensity Academy Sauces, Lutz
  •  Ramon Hernandez, Pipo’s Cuban Cafe and Callaloo, St. Petersburg
  •  Rick Shook, Ricks Electronics Boutique, St. Petersburg
  •  Tina + Rob Moorman, Moorman Photographics, St. Petersburg

Carolina Leid, right, of 10News WTSP stands with Helena Josephs, of Island Flavors and Tings in Gulfport, who was honored with one of ten local business awards at the LocalShops1 bash. Shops that have remained in the St. Petersburg and Gulfport areas for over 15 years were considered.

Carolina Leid, right, of 10News WTSP stands with Margarete Tober, who accepted a community business award on behalf of Maddy and Joe Guenther of O’Maddy’s Bar Grille and BoTiki at the LocalShops1’s Community Awards and 11th Birthday Bash on Sunday, September 8.

Smokin’ J’s Real Texas BBQ in Gulfport owner John Riesebeck, with Carolina Leid, right, of 10News WTSP, accepted his local business award on Sunday, September 8. The event, held at The Vinoy, honored long-standing companies in the St. Petersburg area.


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