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Women shoppers unite!

Statistics have proven over and over again that women shop more than men. Women are the ones buying everything from clothing and home furnishings to doormats and toothpaste. Once in awhile they pick up something up for themselves, but those personal purchases don't happen nearly as often as stereotypes might lead you to believe.

Many women don't have time to shop, and when they do, shopping can be a chore _ not a leisure activity. So, it's in honor of all women (many of whom shop because no one else in the family will) and to mark March as National Women's History Month, that I introduce The Company of Women, a national mail-order catalog offering products made specifically for women and by women. Sales from the catalog benefit victims of domestic violence and rape.

In the spring issue, shoppers will find items such as a coffee mug imprinted with "Relax! There's a woman on the job" ($10); Rosie the Riveter T-shirt ($18); feminist poster ($14.95); car emergency kit ($39.95); and numerous books, including The Women's Book of Confidence, Why Women Pay More and Women of the Native Struggle.

Also available are safety items, baseball caps, notepads, calendars, greeting cards and a T-shirt designed specifically for kids that advertises, "Girls Can Do Anything."

More than half the items are exclusive to the catalog and have been developed for The Company of Women by women entrepreneurs.

For customers who are in an abusive relationship or know someone who is, the catalog supplies the number for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence on the order form. To obtain a free copy of the catalog call (800) 937-1193.

A bay area publication is targeting shoppers searching for women-owned business. The first edition of the Women's Yellow Pages of Tampa Bay is a 68-page booklet offering more than 300 entries of women in business.

For consumers who prefer spending their money in a store owned or managed by a woman this book is a necessity. The small, spiral-bound book lists gift basket companies, consignment shops and jewelry stores as well as service-oriented business such as computer consulting, photography and florists.

The Women's Yellow Pages is available for $5 at Brigit Books (3434 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg, 522-5775) and Haslam's Book Store (2025 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 822-8616) or for $7 by mail from Women's Yellow Pages of Tampa Bay, 4207 E 99th Ave., Tampa, FL 33617. A portion of the sales are donated to Planned Parenthood Association of Southwest Florida.

Inkwood Books (216 Armenia Ave. S, Tampa, 253-2638) is honoring Women's History Month by offering customers a 20 percent discount on selected titles throughout the bookstore.

Shopping here and there

The Village Center (Fletcher Avenue and N Dale Mabry Highway), a redesigned Tampa shopping area in the heart of Carrollwood, is opening three stores on Saturday.

Oh, Baby! (264-9225), an infant and children's boutique, will sell designer fashions and exclusive lines in newborn, toddler, girls 4-6x and boys 4-7 sizes. Check out the little leather suits. Also available are accessories such as socks and hair bows as well as toys and games.

CATO (962-3371) is a moderately priced women's clothing store. Although new to Tampa Bay, CATO has more than 600 stores nationwide and compares itself to stores such as Rave and Fashion Bug. CATO offers petite, junior, misses and plus-sizes and features lingerie, swimwear, shoes and accessories.

Prices range from a $9 T-shirt to a $400 leather coat. Mid-prices range from $29 to $49. For the store's grand opening Saturday, shoppers will receive a 15 percent discount on all items that day only. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Aspetto, (which means "appearance" in Italian) is a women's fashion boutique. The store will sell European-designed suits, dresses, skirts and blouses.

Funky bargains

You still have a few more days to catch the latest sale at Tropical Uniques (1517 Gulf Blvd., Indian Rocks Beach, 593-3474). This funky store sells an eclectic collection of art and handcrafted items such as silk pillows, birdhouses, furniture and jewelry. Now through Sunday everything in the store is discounted 20 percent to 40 percent.

Guide to consignment shops

For Pinellas County bargain hunters new to consignment shopping or those looking for new consignment haunts, the 12th Annual Consignment Shopping Guide is a must-have pamphlet.

The guide lists 91 consignment stores selling everything from clothes to furniture. A detailed map helps shoppers locate each store. All listings include the store's address, phone number, hours and short descriptions. The guide is free and can be obtained by sending a self-addressed, stamped, business-size envelope to: Mary Ann Gallagher, 4550 Cove Circle N, Suite 1207, Maderia Beach, FL 33708.

Resale Connection, (11727 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa, 960-1510), a consignment shop selling clothing for children, women and men, is having a half-price storewide clearance through the end of March.

Send us your shopping news _ store openings, closings, sales and promotions. Call 893-8355 or (800) 333-7505, ext. 8355 or write Pamela Davis-Diaz, the Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Fax (813) 893-8675.