We live in a society where a majority of the population shops at mainstream businesses. For this reason, it's sometimes difficult for local businesses to flourish. It's also more time consuming for shoppers to discover and experience smaller-scale, mom-and-pop shops that offer a more personalized experience, as well as familiarity.
Big box stores have local businesses outmatched when it comes to convenience — a concern relevant to central Pinellas, one of the Tampa Bay area's most chain store-congested areas. Convenience helps explain why most shoppers overlook the fact that some corporations' — such as Walmart — annual sales exceed $400 billion, while local businesses offer the same services and are struggling to stay afloat.
One problem is that finding these alternatives isn't always easy. This is where a promising new program comes into play: The Pinellas Park/Gateway Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the City of Pinellas Park and LocalShops1 to launch the "Buy Local Pinellas Park" program in an effort to promote and grow the local economy. The program, which kicked off on Aug. 15, is effective immediately.
Each of the Tampa Bay area's four indie biggies – Bananas, Mojo, Daddy Kool and Microgroove – carry as much RSD stock as they can get a hold of in addition to hosting day-long specials and live music (CLICK HERE for schedules and info). None know exactly what they'll be getting, so if there's something you're particularly jazzed about, show up early – local enthusiasts have been known to form lines outside before doors even open.
The following is a breakdown of RSD releases that myself, local record store staff, CL Music Team writers and various others are anticipating....
We visited the grand opening of Microgroove record store in Seminole Heights. Owners (and former Vinyl Fever employees) Carl Webb and Keith Ulrey were on hand to help people pick through the bins of vinyl, CDs, box sets and more. Just in time for the holidays.
In friendly-neighbor fashion, Cappy's Pizza was offering $2 slices for one night only and The Independent was pouring drafts for half off with a purchase at Microgroove.
Welcome to the neighborhood, guys!
If you're hoping to do all of your holiday shopping with a few clicks of the keyboard, Cyber Monday's for you.
“I think it’s still kind of an undercover nerd thing,” retail veteran Lauren Copeland told CL's Joe Bardi in a story that ran in the Nov. 24 print edition of CL. “You’re going to get better deals, you’re not going to have to deal with the crowd, you’re not going to have to find parking. You can be in your pajamas at home sipping coffee shopping on Cyber Monday.”
For the inside scoop, Lauren suggests checking out dealnews.com, a clearinghouse of all the best deals online nationally and from local merchants. Lauren says she’s addicted, but seeing as she also scored a 47-inch Vizio TV for about $350 last Cyber Monday, it’s an addiction that actually pays her back.
And here's another way to spend your cyber shopping time on Monday: Score some great deals and help a good cause by bidding in Creative Loafing's Online Holiday Auction for the benefit of The Children's Home.
I'm not quite sure where my love for all things vintage originally stemmed from. Gaining my hoarding tendencies from my grandparents, I vividly remember getting lost in the wonder that was their Tennessee farm house. I would drink juice out of old rinsed jelly jars and Flintstones glasses, and create new culinary wonders with metal cookie cutters and fun dulled utensils. We'd eat our soup out of large ceramic bowls and watch my brother play with rusted trucks while looking at the clock to see if it was time for The Price is Right (Bob Barker's inability to age still trips me out). Later, my grandmother and I would paint and create the most amazing art projects with things we'd found from our treasure hunts on the farm. It was magic.
So, when I say I'm not quite sure where my love for all things vintage stemmed from, I think I may actually mean I know exactly where it stemmed from: Tennessee Sundays.
And, in case you're curious, my culinary wonders always included a large dollop or two of Marshmallow Fluff. If that doesn't say something about me, I just don't know what does.
So, for this week's Found on Etsy, I thought we'd bring it back home and focus on vintage. But, always one for a fun twist, let's keep it local.
Not one to pick favorites, I'm starting off with my favorite. GoodBonesVintageCo is a fantastic, and rather new, Tampa Etsy shop. Run by newly married dollbabies, Chris and Sarah, GoodBones "find(s) vintage home decor, typewriters, and cameras, furnishing from mid century modern to 1970s kitsch, retro fabric, tools, industrial items and clothing to bring charm to your home, closet and craft table." The large collection of vintage cameras and typewriters originally brought me to this shop (I mean, that Bell and Howell film projector, COME ON!) , but once I was here, I noticed all the fantastic other eclectic wonders: industrial lamps, gorgeous luggage, the cutest mustard colored fondue pot around ... and that's just on page one! With a nod to mid-century modern, there's something for everyone here. Whether you're hunting fantastic industrial metals, bright popping colors, or just looking to add a vintage griddle to your kitchen, this shop is sure to please. And speaking of pleasing, that brass turtle container on page five has my name all over it. And on sale!
(As always, clicking the photo will bring you to the shop you desire.)
So this next shop really could be selling poo in a bowl and I would still be talking about it because their photos are so good. So bright and colorful, and it doesn't hurt that one of my all time favorite go-to colors is turquoise. Nicely played, VintageChichibean, nicely played. (And Etsy sellers take note: pictures matter! Make 'em good.) But really, VintageChichibean has a lot to offer. Shop owner, Carol, finds her inspiration from the outdoors, Florida wildlife, and the thrill of the "hunt." A pro at refinishing and repurposing antique and found items, she has a shop packed full of wonder. There's everything. There's upcycled vintage lamps, there's French maps, there's gorgeous rustic kitchenware, there's refurbished frames and shelves, there's a Star Trek mug collection forgoodnesssakes. I adore the shabby rustic charm of everything in the shop. It gives off a warm cottage vibe of old Florida. It's enchanting. Check it out.
These star-spangled doo-hickies arrived on our way out the door last week, just in time for the long July 4th weekend. It turns out the timing couldn’t have been better, as we had (and made) plenty of time to test these in a number of settings.
1. Phone Conversation on iPhone 3G
What sets these apart from other earbuds and headphones is the talk button/mic feature which allows them to double as an iPhone headset. The cans are well-insulated, which reduce much noise, and in every other test, this earned major points. However when used for phone (and Skype) conversations, the user’s own voice seemed barely-audible and muffled, giving the conversation a strange one-way quality.
2. Streaming audio (96/128K)
MOG Streaming Service on iPhone; “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele
Crisp highs and big bottom, but the bass is a little much, and with today’s lack of “tone” settings on devices, there’s no way to dial it back. Call me old, but I worry that extended exposure to bass frequencies may induce headache.
Even though we bid a tearful farewell to Vinyl Fever in February, several other high-quality indie record stores remain and are surviving by broadening their offerings, stocking plenty of vinyl to meet the revival demands, and getting involved in the internationally-recognized Record Store Day campaign, a celebration of indie music retail. This year marks the fifth annual edition and each store involved locally carries limited, RSD-exclusive (not available anywhere else) releases as well as offering related promotions and presenting live music throughout the day and in some cases, late into the night.
Record Store Day 2011 is held this Saturday, April 16. Check out a comprehensive breakdown of three Bay area stores hosting full-scale events after the jump, along with a list of some recommended RSD-exclusive releases.
Many of us out there are guilty of having a mess of unworn, unwanted clothing, shoes and accessories in our closets just taking up space. You could finally get rid of them and give your stuff to Goodwill -- by all means, don't just throw away perfectly good clothes. But wouldn't it just be easier to just swap with someone else who wanted what you've got and vice versa?
That's where The Swapinista comes in to play, a new site created to help people get rid of their unworn fashion items and saves them money by not having to buy new ones.
The Swapinista founder, Valerie Bickford, stated,
"I was inspired to create this idea because I saw I had so much in my closet that was just sitting there taking space. I would then go out and buy more. I decided I no longer wanted to be a 'consumer' of stuff. Swapping is eco-friendly, cost effective, fun ('cause it's like a treasure hunt) and just plain old 'smart thing to do'."
Their concept is simple:
Buying Christmas gifts is a tricky thing to master. They seem to fall into two categories: the kind of presents you love, and the kind of presents you pretend to love. You want to like all your gifts equally, but you cant like something you never wanted, or have no use for.
The good news is that your Christmas gifts can now join a third category: the kind of presents you love to resell online. If your last Christmas brought you a pile of gifts you want to re-gift, you might be surprised at the chunk of change you can get when you start selling that stuff on eBay. Who knows? You might even make enough selling last year's gifts on eBay to cover the cost of this year's Christmas gifts. But seller beware: a lot can change in a year.