Shopapalooza is the highlight of the year for many small businesses

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — This weekend, more than 350 small businesses from across Tampa Bay will be setting up shop at Vinoy Park in St. Pete for Shopapalooza.

Everything from unique fashion and jewelry, to environmentally-friendly sun protective wear, to St. Pete-made delicious ice cream, will be available, with each of these businesses providing an inspiring story to go along with their products.

What began as a series of artistic doodles has turned into a small husband and wife-run company called Shape Shifter Fish and Friends.

“I literally just started shifting shapes, circles, half circles, triangles, to create a manatee, pelican, dolphin,” owner Maria Aller said.

Like many of these entrepreneurs who pursued their dreams during the pandemic, Aller faced her share of challenges and then some.

“So in June of this year, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, which made me put a halt on our business,”…

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