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St. Petersburg, Florida - Sitting at her sewing machine, for the past year Rebekah Lazaridis has been stitching together a small business called Eugenia Woods. "I'm making it," she says while working on a handbag. "I haven't tanked yet."

Lazaridis and her sister make hats and bags and other accessories using vintage fabrics. And the experience of starting a business has been both fun and scary.

"It really has been taking a chance almost every single day with what we do, but we've been lucky and successful," Lazaridis says.

So how do small businesses like this survive? Well, on this strip of sidewalk along Central Avenue, stores depend on customers who like to shop local.

Inside Graphi-ko Gallery, Charmian Dewey shows off her newest necklace. As a former small business owner, she and her son have made shopping local their Black Friday tradition.

"So we really appreciate what it takes to keep small shops going and we really like to support the mom and pop businesses," says Dewey. "It's what we're made of - our country."

"I've got a friend in this shop and actually lots of shops, simply because I come in and see what's going on," says Dewey Davis Thompson. "That's the kind of thing that makes our community vibrant."

And those kind of comments are music to the ears across the street at Daddy Kool Records where they sell vinyl, CD's and expertise.

"Music, unless you're kind of in the know, it's kind of hard to find out what's coming up and what's incredible and it's our job," says clerk Sarah Gecan with a laugh. "So it's kind of helpful to have someone you can talk to about it."

Back at Eugenia Woods, Lazaridis is ripping out a seam and just like insewing, she says mistakes in business do happen. But she's confident that with unique products and customer service, she has the right pattern for success.

To find locally-owned businesses in St. Petersburg click here.





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