Gasparilla businesses eying safety, worried about making ends meet

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa Bay business owners impacted by the delay of Gasparilla are wondering how this will affect their bottom line during this pandemic.

Specialty businesses like Pirate Fashions have been around for years, but now the owner is worried about being profitable and safe.

“The pirate community has supported my store in this time of plague,” said Tiger Lee, the owner of Pirate Fashions. “We appreciate that.”

Lee admits he’s loved living a pirate’s life. After all, Tampa Bay is a perfect place to do just that.

But, with Florida’s spike in COVID-19 numbers, especially in Tampa Bay, things have been challenging for specialty businesses like Pirate Fashions – a Gasparilla staple.

The question is – with Gasparilla festivities delayed, how does this longtime local favorite stay in business?

“Putting it off means more people will come here and buy, so in the long term it’ll be better, but in the short term in January, it won’t be as good. But, I guess it was never really going to be that good in January,” Lee said.

This Tampa businessman says he wants everyone to stay safe, but he’s also worried about being able to stay afloat until Gasparilla in April leaving this pirate trying to think positive.

He even has an idea for his business if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers go to the Super Bowl in their home city with all kinds of costumes for local pirates to wear at Raymond James Stadium, even something for Tom Brady and his lovely wife, Gisele.

“If the Bucs go to the Super Bowl, we have entire line of red and grey pirate outfits to show your support for our wonderful team,” Lee told us.

Lee says his online business has helped keep him in business during this pandemic also pointing out that he’s worked very hard to keep his entire staff employed during this difficult time.

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