Ester worked full-time at the Tampa Bay Times (then the St. Petersburg Times) when she started LocalShops1. After she was laid off in October 2011, she decided to focus full time on growing the Buy Local movement in the Tampa Bay region.
The efforts paid off. What started as a handwritten list to help her parents find local businesses when they were visiting from New Jersey has become Tampa Bay's leading advocate for small businesses. The organization has more than 500 active shopper and business members and is often recognized for its efforts to support the mom-and-pop stores.
Ester, a Tampa Bay-area resident since January 2003, has been honored by several organizations and local media, including the Tampa Bay Business Journal and the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. She has a huge social media following and is the go-to-source for all things local.
Twitter ID: @localshops1com