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Independently shop till you drop

With the holiday shopping season fast approaching, here's a message from locally owned shops and businesses: "Don't forget us!" Supporting independent stores pumps more money into local coffers, not to mention makes us feel good about where we live and all it offers. On Saturday, the Tampa Independent Business Alliance joins communities nationwide for the seventh annual America Unchained! The goal is to encourage people to shop, dine and frequent the nonchain businesses. Yes, that means Target, Wal-Mart or Chili's. (And, yes, we know that'll be hard.) So in honor of everything local, including this dear newspaper, we're spelling out a few ways to get your independent juices flowing. — By Susan Thurston sthurston@tampabay.com

Buddy Brew Coffee: This new coffee shop buys the world's best beans and roasts them on site to create fresh, tasty coffee with a lot of kick. Friendly baristas and comfy decor make it a prime spot for sitting and sipping. 2020 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa; (813) 258-2739; buddybrew.com.

Urban Body: Guys can thank owner Scott Moore for setting them up with the latest in T-shirts, jeans and casual shirts. Here's a bonus: This fashion-forward men's boutique now has clothing for gals, too. 715 S Howard Ave., Tampa; (813) 251-5522; urbanbody.com.

Yogani: Stretch, breathe and be happy. This yoga studio has been preaching the benefits of meditative exercise long before everyone owned a mat. 1112 W Platt St., Tampa; (813) 251-9668; yogani.com.

Inkwood Books: This anti-Big Box book store has a loyal following of readers. Attend a book signing or browse the many staff recommendations. Mention America Unchained! on Saturday and get 20 percent off. 216 S Armenia Ave., Tampa; (813) 253-2638; inkwoodbooks.com.

Nuance Galleries: Buy a piece of art or get one framed at this fine-art gallery and custom frame shop. Next year it celebrates a milestone: 30 years. 804 S Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa; (813) 875-0511; nuancegal leries.com.

Daily Eats: Salad shredder bowls, burgers and omelets just begin to describe the huge menu. The sidewalk seating makes for great people-watching along Howard. 901 S Howard Ave., Tampa; (813) 868-3335; dailyeats tampa.com.

Edit Suites: Housed in a beautifully renovated historic building in downtown Tampa, Edit Suites creates brand awareness for companies, products and services through cool graphics, video and animation. 1209 N Franklin St., Tampa; (813) 254-3321; editsuiteson line.com.

Penelope T: Named after a rebellious British fashion model from the '60s, this women's clothing boutique carries unique, contemporary styles by lesser-known designers. Don the goods and set a trend. 1413 S Howard Ave., Tampa; (813) 254-5740; penelope tboutique.com.

Emerald Bar: This dive bar has cheap drinks, edgy bands and a cast of questionable characters. Need we say more? 550 Central Ave., St. Petersburg; (727) 898-6054; myspace.com/emeraldbar.

Nicholson House: Around since 1992, this shop sells eclectic gifts and gadgets galore. It goes high-brow on Wednesday evenings, with free boxed wine, Saltines and spray cheese. 533 S Howard Ave., Tampa; (813) 251-1144; shopnicholson house.com.

DOMA Home Furnishings: Fans of contemporary furniture and accessories won't find much to dislike here. Locations in St. Petersburg and Tampa make it accessible to all, provided you have an ample budget. 2540 22nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg; (727) 327-9400; 1916 S Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa; (813) 258-4500. domahomefur nishings.com.

Emilio's Bistro, Bakery and Bar: The latest of many concepts to try this location, Emilio's aims to stick around with its home-baked desserts, pastries, baguettes and panini bread. If you can remember the long name, check out the Not Your Ordinary Smokey Chipotle Meatloaf Baguette. 437 Central Ave., St. Petersburg; (727) 258-4891; emilios bistro.com.

Noho Bistro: This neighborhood bistro brings a touch of Europe to this gritty West Tampa thoroughfare. Well-known for its catering, it has a thoughtful lunch and dinner menu with hearty soups and homemade desserts. 1714 N Armenia Ave., Tampa; (813) 514-0691; the nohobistro.com.

Taps Wine and Beer Merchants: Choose from 250 kinds of beer and 100 wines at this sleek bistro in the heart of downtown Tampa's growing art scene. Wine dispensing machines lets customers sample expensive bottles for a modest price. 777 N Ashley Drive, Tampa; (813) 463-1968; tapswineand beer.com.

Off the (un)chain

The Tampa Independent Business Alliance hosts a block party from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Friday at downtown businesses near Tampa and Franklin streets. The party starts at Spain Restaurant, 513 N Tampa St. Cost is $5; free to TIBA members. Includes one free drink ticket and appetizers. tibatampa.org.

Independently shop till you drop 11/18/10 [Last modified: Thursday, November 18, 2010 1:22pm]

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