Small Business Saturday is critical to SW FL locally owned stores

The Tunaskin Aquatic Apparel mobile popup will be open on Friday and Saturday from 9 am until 5 pm at 1300 Estero Blvd., in Fort Myers Beach.  The aquatic apparel shop offers an array of men's, women's and kids' shorts, tops and headwear with performance and comfort in mind while in and around the water.

Small Business Saturday isn’t just about spending locally, which keeps money in the community.

In Southwest Florida, the event carries a new meaning: It supports small businesses that have been slammed by Hurricane Ian.

“Luckily we’re at a high point on the street,” said Cheryl Schaaf, owner of Spirit of the Earth. We had some water intrusion. The water crept in and ruined our flooring. We had to put in new flooring. We didn’t have any merchandise that was damaged.”

Saturday is “Small Business Saturday,” an event that American Express officially began in 2010. It always falls on the last Saturday of November, right after Thanksgiving. The idea is to encourage people to shop small and bring more holiday shopping to small businesses. It is estimated that many small businesses earn up to 25% of their income during the holiday shopping season.