Shop the best local stores in St. Petersburg, Tampa and beyond

Retail therapy Florida-style, for the win! By Erin Feitsma, Times Total Media Correspondent
Who says your vacation souvenir has to be a T shirt? It could be a beachy necklace or pair of earrings you couldn't have found anywhere else.
Who says your vacation souvenir has to be a T shirt? It could be a beachy necklace or pair of earrings you couldn't have found anywhere else. [ Shutterstock ]
Published May 27, 2022|Updated June 1, 2022

Sure, shopping online is easier than ever, but why wait for your treasure to ship when you can score a sweet deal locally? You can’t beat the intimate experience of browsing indie shops IRL, where the merchandise is artfully assembled, and you can support (and chat with) small-business owners face to face. Put your dollars to good use this summer and show these Florida shops some love.

St. Petersburg

A cool find for St. Pete art lovers is The Canyon Museum Shop Café, located in the expansive architectural wonder that is The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art. If you have a flair for bright splashes of color, you’ll love perusing the shop’s offerings, including statement jewelry, woven coasters, museum merch and more. The Canyon also serves drinks and southwestern meals at its vintage Western bar. Try juicy burgers or decadent desserts during your stop.

For whimsical wares and one-of-a-kind finds, be sure to stop by St. Petersburg’s ARTpool Gallery. ARTpool sells a curated selection of vintage clothing and serves up charming retro vibes with its eye-catching window displays and antique items.

Next door is ARTpool Records, a peaceful space to search the crates for the record your collection is missing. The store also sells graphic tees, quirky pins and toys, plus refreshments if you’re feeling snacky. Masks are required for entry into both shops.

No bookworm’s summer could be complete without enough volumes to fill up a beach bag (or a suitcase … or a car trunk … can you ever have enough books, really?). Tombolo Books knows the struggle. Tucked in a cozy corner next to Black Crow Coffee, this pleasantly low-key and charming indie bookstore in St. Pete is set up for people to linger, implicitly inviting you to mosey over with a matcha latte and dwell in the shop for many moons. With a variety of selections and a shelf of staff picks, Tombolo Books has a little something for everyone.

Wesley Chapel

Make shopping an event with The Market Culture’s Market Elaine. This local nighttime market gathers over 60 local makers and musicians on the first Friday of the month at The Grove in Wesley Chapel. Vendors may vary. Recent businesses who have set up shop include Botany Bakeshop (Instagram-worthy, nature-inspired cakes, cookies and brownies); Sakinah Scents (African soaps, bonnets and naturally made incense); Hope Candles by Paige (soy candles with scents like Funfetti, Tranquility and Tropical Escape), among an array of others.


It wouldn’t be an indie shopping trip without a visit to Tampa’s stunning Oxford Exchange, an all-in-one hipster paradise where you can enjoy breakfast tacos, sip Buddy Brew coffee, browse books and pick up aesthetic paper goods in your finest upcycled threads. At Oxford Exchange, there is beauty everywhere you turn, from the gallery portraits hanging along the sweeping stairwell to the dappling light illuminating the bookstore’s swirling patterned floors. This is the perfect place to grab brunch and stay a while. The space is also available to rent out for private events.

A short drive away is the historic Hyde Park Village, six blocks of highly strollable shops and restaurants nestled near gorgeous neighborhoods. In addition to big-name businesses like Anthropologie and Madewell, local fixtures like The Hyppo (an ice pop shop that uses natural ingredients) and The Candle Pour (a store that lets you design your own custom candle) have made Hyde Park Village their brick-and-mortar home.

Shoppers can also meander through the Fresh Market, where nearly 100 local vendors set up shop on the first Sunday of the month. Or, if you’re a plant person, come back on Wednesday afternoons to pick up a bouquet from Posies Flower Truck. If for no other reason, this quaint shopping destination is worth a visit simply to enjoy Sprinkles Tampa, a delightful pink storefront with a 24-hour cupcake ATM. Pastries for days.

Tarpon Springs

Antique and secondhand shop lovers will enjoy the vintage stores in Tarpon Springs, including Court of Two Sisters, Bear Haven Land Company Vintage Toys and Tampa Bay Salvage. The retro vibe continues at Replay Museum, where you can pop in and play pinball or old-school arcade games (who could resist a game of Ms. Pac-Man?).


Proving you don’t need a reason to go on a shopping spree is Sarasota’s whimsical gift and décor shop Just/Because, located in St. Armands Circle (a shopping center originally dreamed up by John Ringling). Just/Because is owned by two sisters who stock the shop with the creations of over 90 different artists, many of which are handmade or created with sustainability in mind. Other offerings include quirky home décor pieces, nature-inspired jewelry and pretty patterned hankies, making it the perfect place to pick up a little treasure you can’t find anywhere else.

Key West

Nothing could encapsulate the carefree coastal vibe more than Key West’s aptly named boutique Good Day on a Happy Planet. Follow the sunny vibes inside for a hodgepodge of gifts and souvenirs, including a cheerful assortment of guitars and musical instruments suspended from the ceiling, just waiting to be played. If you’re looking for jewelry, cool beachy clothes and backpacks alongside friendly service and a shopping experience that will leave you smiling, you have arrived at the right place.

For the lighthearted shopper among us, we recommend the Funky Chicken Store (yes, really), Key West’s one-stop-shop for all things … chicken. If you like your paintings to include poultry or your housewares to highlight hens, this art-centric souvenir shop is for you. Celebrate the city’s population of wild chickens with such delights as chicken T-shirts, kitchen towels, metal roosters and more chicken merchandise than you thought existed. This shop’s unique goods are sure to cheer up anyone in a fowl mood.