Downtown Winter Garden campaign to celebrate “mom-and-pops”

The city of Winter Garden is hoping shoppers and diners will head to the Plant Street area March 27 to support independently owned businesses.

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National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day is next week, and what better way to celebrate than with a Shop, Dine & Stroll event all day Saturday, March 27?

The city of Winter Garden’s outdoor shopping and dining experience is to support the independently owned businesses that make downtown Winter Garden so unique. It will take place at shops and restaurants up and down Plant Street as well as the side streets from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Retail shops will offer sales and their spring merchandise in the stores and online; restaurants will provide seasonal menus, and there will be outdoor dining patios for enjoying meals, snacks and the weather.

“All the retail businesses will do their sidewalk sales,” said Tanja Gerhartz, the city’s economic development director. “They’ll bring their merchandise out on the street, they’ll have their sales racks, they’ll have any other offerings for spring put out, and then the restaurants are all doing something special, a promotion or something special for that day as well. Some are doing special sandwiches, etc. Some are doing some pretty neat stuff for spring.”

Gerhartz said staff looked at other downtown events in other cities before deciding on Shop, Dine & Stroll.

“We have done variations of Shop, Dine & Stroll, but not anything like this,” Gerhartz said. “What we’ve done like this is different sidewalk sales, but this is the first time we’ve actually married the restaurants with the retail shopping. … It’s really to celebrate National Mom and Pop Business Owner Day.”

According to Winter Garden City Hall, there are 27 restaurants/bars and 24 retail shops — however, there is some crossover since some establishments offer food or drink and gifts. Winter Garden is comprised of approximately 2,000 businesses, and most qualify as small businesses, Gerhartz said.  Downtown Winter Garden is made up of more than 200 businesses with a healthy mix of office and commercial. 

This event is part of the city’s Love Local campaign to help keep businesses operating during the pandemic. Phase 2 of the plan is the Shop, Dine & Stroll; Arts in April; Outdoor Dining Month in May; the Winter Garden Farmer’s Market’s anniversary June 5; and Red, White & Blue Americana from May through July.

“We are just wanting to build on the Love Local campaign, how important it is to support local businesses,” Gerhartz said. “When you celebrate them, you’re helping yourself because you’re helping the local economy. It’s building a vibrant city. Because our city is full of those mom-and-pop businesses, we thought, ‘What better way to celeb Mom and Pop Business Owners Day than to have people come out and celebrate?’”

For every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $68 will remain in the local community, versus only $43 when shopping at national chains, according to Independent We Stand.

In addition, the Winter Garden Farmers Market will operate from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Downtown Pavilion, 104 S. Lakeview Ave.

“It’s going to be beautiful weather,” Gerhartz said. “March is such a beautiful month.”



Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.

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