Fellow Tampa Bay Blogger, Caitlyn from Live Sweat Sleep Repeat, told me about the Hyde park festivities happening on Small Business Saturday. It was the day before her birthday, so she was feeling extra festive. It was also the end of my week off work for Thanksgiving, so I was relaxed and ready for some girl time. I joined the group showing local stores and restaurants some love on Small Business Saturday in Hyde Park Village.
The day started with a sign-in and toasting at Piquant Epicure & Cuisine. There we were treated like princesses as we sampled fruity mimosas (mango, raspberry…) and straight-up champagne (at 10am… #sorrynotsorry).
To munch on, we were served piquant granola with fruit, honey and yogurt; mini Croque Madames (Black Forest Ham, Gruyére, Béchamel, Fried Egg on toast); and pumpkin french toast. The food there is so tasty and fresh, with pops of originality and creativity.
The decor is where I really salivated, though. The acrylic chairs, on-trend wallpapers, luxe and glam with rustic edges. Love it!
Throughtout Hyde Park, there were in-store events, special discounts and giveaways throughout the day that we tried to scope out. Most stores had chalkboards in front with info, but we also had little Small Business Saturday guides to help us out.
We started our shopping stroll passing Tommy Bahama, the one store my daughter wanted to catch a holiday sale at. The sales there didn’t seem that great. But at the little, local Don Me Now there were sales and specials all over the place! I had won a gift card to the store from Caitlyn’s blog giveaway, so I tried a bunch of stuff on… they have great dresses for parties, fun jewelry and cute basics. Much more in store than online. Caitlyn bought herself a tank that said “Every day is a good day for champagne” and wore it immediately! I liked the blue, crepe harem pants with gathered ankles. I can’t wait to take DD1 over winter break when she is home from college!
We did some window shopping near The White Magnolia Bridal Collection and Dixieland Monogram – both stores my older daughter would love! I need to take her back to Hyde Park, it’s been years! I used to being my daughters there as a way of getting out of St. Pete before International Plaza was built. They would wear swimsuits under their clothes, and we’d play in the fountain at the park nearby after shopping around. They also filmed some Daytime TV clips with Shana Banana there. Memories…
Anyway – back to our shopping stroll. We enjoyed some Toffee at the pop-up Toffee To Go shop. They are at the St. Pete Saturday Morning Market every week so I am familiar with their yummy goodness! They had 3 flavors of toffee for us to taste. Then we were stopped by a news team about being bloggers on the scene, and Caitlyn was interviewed like a boss.
The holiday decorations and books at Anthropologie had us agog for a while – but not small business so we sauntered down the block. That’s when Caitlyn saw the Buddy Brew Coffee truck. The barista-dude inside was helpful, friendly and very knowledgeable about coffee and ethical bean-age. When I told him I was allergic to tea, he told me about cascara – a beverage made from the dried berries of a coffee plant. It has less caffeine than coffee and a slight cherry flavor. Some call the dried berries “cherries”, so that fits. Apparently their cold brew is delicious. They also had pressed sandwiches.
We sat around the fountain snacking, while enjoying The Fickle Souls. His voice was rich like melted caramel. Great tunes thanks to Gasparilla Music Festival. The people watching there was fun too – lots of families dressed in red trying to take holiday portraits by the Hyde Park Christmas tree.
Then we hit up Paper Source, where I kinda just wanted one of everything. Gold polka dots and Lilly for DD1, silly trendy stuff for DD2, nerdy toys for DH and pretty cards and paper for me! We were able to craft a holiday gift tag and try heat embossers at their make-and-take class.
Alas, I bought funny Channukah cards for the family, because you can’t find those too often. I also learned more about what my mom’s favorite color means and what color my birthday represents.
We moseyed through Blue Moon Trading Company and Juxtapose Apparel & Studio where I can’t really afford to shop but enjoyed funny socks, pretty light fixtures and more. At some point we also went to lululemon athletica, where they had some good sales – but their prices are usually too high for me as well.
Salt Pines had complimentary gift wrapping for any gift purchased in Hyde Park Village, but we were only gifting ourselves most of the day, so we skipped that.
The girls finished off the afternoon at bartaco, who graciously gave us each two coins good for a free taco per coin. I had a dinner party to prepare for, so I left the others to their munchies and headed on home.
Not only was sneaking in girl time during my week-long break from work fun, it was a decision on our parts to support small, local businesses. I did some Black Friday shopping at local antique store sales as well. Small businesses tend to attract talent who invent new products or implement new solutions for existing ideas. Small businesses continue to add more net new jobs than large businesses (500+ employees). Through the first three quarters of 2014, small businesses added 1.4 million net new jobs! Also money spent at local businesses kickstarts the local economy as owners are able to make a living and taxes are maintained locally. And non-profit organizations receive an average 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from large businesses.
*(I looked those stats up from government agencies.)
Happy Holiday shopping!