Make us your home page

LocalShops1 opens first brick-and-mortar site in Gulfport

GULFPORT — The display window beckoned, but on it were a couple of quirky requests: "Do not tap the glass. Do not feed the artist."

Inside, artist Elizabeth McCann, 31, was displaying her work. There were pieces of handcrafted jewelry, priced from $10 to $75, and paintings on raw canvas, all tucked into an 8- by 7-foot space decorated with pieces of antique furniture she had brought from home.

McCann is the first artist-in-residence at the new LocalShops1 brick-and-mortar site. The coalition of independently owned businesses and shoppers moved into the space at 2908 Beach Blvd. S, in the heart of Gulfport's arts district, in time for the city's Labor Day weekend GeckoFest.

The LocalShops1 location is offering two "pop-up" — temporary spaces — for local artists and businesses to display and sell their wares. With the exception of January, the space McCann occupies is booked through February, said Ester Venouziou, who founded LocalShops1 in 2008.

She said the new LocalShops1 Pop-Up! Shop will give people the opportunity to set up a temporary site "without all the start-up costs."

Early this week, McCann showed off the spoon jewelry, rings, pendants, bracelets and earrings she creates with her father, Bill Thompson, a St. Petersburg resident and former Madeira Beach firefighter. She also makes necklaces crocheted from hemp and yarn and displayed in her small space additional pendants crafted from domino pieces and broken china. Besides the pop-up location, her work is also being sold at Florida CraftArt in downtown St. Petersburg and online at her website, she said.

The artist, who grew up five minutes from the pop-up store, also pointed to paintings on raw canvas she's created with her husband, Matt, 33. She said they're "a labor of love" and run from $30 to $150.

"This is something I have been wanting a very long time," she said of the opportunity to set up shop, even if it is only temporary.

"Ester has been so supportive of small business people like me. This is something that couldn't have been on my radar."

Venouziou, 45, said the LocalShops1 site opened after a two-week renovation. Built-in shelves were added, along with slat boards for displays. The shop will give local artists and businesses a chance to market and build brand awareness for their products and introduce and test new products, she said. It also offers free display space for LocalShops1 members' business cards and brochures.

The location is at the center of Gulfport's weekly markets and two monthly art walks, as well as its festivals. Venouziou said pop-up reservations have already been made by several local artists and businesses, including White Pine Studio, This Life Photography, Earth Day St. Pete, FinFish and Creative Chaos.

Spaces are available by the day, during markets and art walks, and by the month, she said, adding that reservations can be made at Depending on the season and date, prices range from $75 a day to $400 a month.

Venouziou said LocalShops1 has about 350 members, with about 70 percent in St. Petersburg and most others in Gulfport, Seminole and Largo, along with a few in Tampa. Her dream is to open more pop-up stores.

"In my dream world, I would love to have one in downtown St. Pete, one in the Warehouse District and in Seminole Heights in Tampa," she said.

Contact Waveney Ann Moore at or (727) 892-2283. Follow @wmooretimes

LocalShops1 opens first brick-and-mortar site in Gulfport 09/29/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 28, 2016 6:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  2. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood


    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  3. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa


    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  4. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county


    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.
  5. Honda denies covering up dangers of Takata air bags


    With just a third of the defective Takata air bag inflators replaced nationwide, the corporate blame game of who will take responsibility — and pay — for the issue has shifted into another gear.

    Honda is denying covering up dangers of Takata air bags. | [Scott McIntyre, New York Times]