The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for . The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
Home to more than 21 million people from a cornucopia of backgrounds, Florida offers a basketful of opportunities to shop at locally owned businesses. Many of the small businesses in the Sunshine State are owned and operated by folks whose ethnic roots are Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Central American or South American.
So, why should Floridians shop at local retailers rather than national retailers?
For one thing, shopping locally supports local workers. One of the most interesting aspects of small businesses is that they still make up the vast majority of businesses in the U.S. Data released in 2020 by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) shows 99.99 percent of American businesses are small businesses, employing nearly half (47 percent) of workers in the private sector.
In addition, locally-owned businesses often purchase goods and services from other locally-owned businesses. This further benefits an area’s economy. On top of that, shopping locally helps consumers celebrate the one-of-a-kind retailers in their area.
Here are 15 small businesses in Florida to consider as you’re wrapping up your holiday shopping.
1. Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Co.
Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Co. has been a mainstay in Winter Park since 1979. One year later, Barnie’s opened the doors to its cafe. Here, you’ll savor unique coffee flavors such as Santa’s White Christmas, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Orange Creamsicle, Coconut Mint and Pistachio Ice Cream.
Where to shop: You can pick up Barnie’s coffees, teas, mugs and gift sets at its store and cafe (118 S. Park Ave. in Winter Park) or at Publix supermarkets.
2. Black Sparrow Jewelry
Daytona Beach artist Whitney Bryson draws upon the natural world to produce handmade jewelry, such as hummingbird earrings and rattlesnake necklaces. Black Sparrow Jewelry, founded in 2009, donates 50 percent of its sales to the nonprofit Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), which rescues retired, neglected and abused animals held in captivity by circuses, animal traders and others.
Where to shop: Black Sparrow Jewelry sells its creations through Etsy.
New Smyrna Beach-based Woodroze specializes in premium, handcrafted wooden sunglasses made with hypoallergenic materials and without plastic. The mirrored lenses are shatterproof, anti-reflective, anti-scratch and antimicrobial. “We’re on a mission to build a company with a magnetism for good vibes over a thirst for profits,” says Woodroze.
Where to shop: You can order Woodroze sunglasses through its website.
4. ARTpool Gallery & Vintage Boutique
ARTpool Gallery & Vintage Boutique is the epitome of a Middle Eastern bazaar. Its quirky assortment of goods includes handcrafted jewelry, vintage clothing, vinyl records and antiques. The store’s website “welcomes anyone and everyone who believes in St. Pete’s creative culture.”
Where to shop: Visit the gallery and boutique at 2030 Central Ave. or check out its Etsy shop.
Orlando’s MacroBaby, which stocks more than 40,000 products from over 900 brands (including more than 340 options for strollers), bills itself as the “Baby Store with a Heart.” The retailer boasts that its high-end products and one-on-one customer experience set it apart “from all other baby stores in the country.”
Where to shop: You can browse MacroBaby’s merchandise at its store (1361 Florida Mall Ave.) or on its website.
6. Bill Jackson’s
Bill Jackson’s in Pinellas Park is a wonderland for the outdoors enthusiast. Aside from equipment and gear for backpackers, campers, climbers, gun enthusiasts and other outdoor adventurers, the store features a 100,000-gallon indoor pool for diving lessons, a shooting range and a carpeted indoor slope for skiing lessons.
Where to shop: Bill Jackson’s is at 9501 U.S. Highway 19 North, at one end of Freedom Lake.
7. Happy Monkey Shop
Miami’s Happy Monkey Shop, co-owned by Peru-born mom Nicole Candusso, sells “conscious toys for conscious kids.” In addition to eco-friendly wooden toys imported from Europe, it stocks clothing, accessories, and home and decor items. The Thrillist website calls Happy Monkey “Miami’s most unique toy store.”
Where to shop: The store is located at 8210 NE Second Ave. You also can have orders shipped to you.
8. Mojo Books & Records
Mojo Books & Records promotes itself as Tampa’s largest used and new book and record store. Inside, you can browse the vast collection of books and records, and you can sip your favorite beverages at the artisan coffee and tea bar. Mojo is “a part-time show venue, full-time coffee bar, and the best trade-and-sell book and vinyl store in Tampa Bay,” according to That’s So Tampa.
Where to shop: Visit the store (2554 E. Fowler Ave.) or shop online.
Cultivate touts that it’s Jacksonville’s “neighborhood urban supply store,” committed to stocking eco-friendly, U.S.-made products. Its vast selection includes plants, soil, seeds, gardening tools, home goods, kitchen supplies, body products, toys, books, games and clothing. Cultivate also hosts a variety of workshops.
Where to shop: The store is at 2766 Park St. You also can visit its online shop.
10. Garnet & Gold
Tallahassee’s Garnet & Gold is the go-to shop for Florida State University fans. Seminole-branded merchandise available there includes tumblers, tailgate chairs, backpacks and an array of apparel. Founded in 1979, Garnet & Gold boasts the only locally-owned retailer of Florida State merchandise.
Where to shop: Garnet & Gold operates three stores in Tallahassee: 1504 Governor’s Square Blvd., 1001 W. Pensacola St. and 1400 Village Square Blvd. #11. You also can have your purchases shipped.
11. Ilene’s Gator Store
We’d be doing a disservice to Floridians if we didn’t also highlight a store catering to University of Florida fans. Ilene’s Gator Store in Gainesville declares that it’s “where Gator passion meets Gator fashion.” Here, you can find Gator bags, socks, belts, hats and ties, and a range of apparel for men, women and kids.
Where to shop: The store is at 2441 NW 43rd St. Suite 19. Orders can be placed online as well.
12. Timeless Items of Interest & Illumination
This gallery in Fort Myers’ River District sells one-of-a-kind vintage steampunk lamps, jewelry, decor, gifts and other items. Owner Steve Timack says roughly 60 percent of the merchandise is created locally.
Where to shop: The store is 2218 First St.
13. Happylicious by Betsy
Betsy Cohen’s West Palm Beach-based Happylicious aims to make your mouth happy. It whips up and sells cookie mixes, edible cookie dough and edible brownie mix in flavors such as Irish cream, amaretto and chocolate chip. Cohen says her store was inspired by her lifelong love of desserts.
Where to shop: You can place orders through the Happylicious website.
14. Verde Market
South Florida’s Verde Market goes green in a big way. Founded by Martha Balaguer and Pam Barrerra, the market sells plant-based, organic and waste-free products in bulk. These include soaps, body lotions, shampoos, beauty products, coffees, teas and spices. “We only sell products that we believe in,” the owners say.
Where to shop: Verde Market operates three locations: 2328 NE Second Ave. in Miami, 7304 SW 57th Ave. in Miami and 2102 E. Oakland Park Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale.
15. Rain Tree Mercantile
Rain Tree Mercantile claims it’s Melbourne’s most eclectic shop for locally produced gourmet foods and specialty gifts. Offerings include hot sauce, seasoning, salsa, wine and craft beer. One of its specialty items is a chili oil made and sold by a local startup called Tapped.
Where to shop: Rain Tree is at 826 E. New Haven Ave. Shipping is available.
Source: Google Maps
The bottom line
The diversity of small businesses in Florida is as diverse as the state’s population. And many of these businesses — from Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Co. in Winter Park to Rain Tree Mercantile in Melbourne — benefited from the $23.3 billion in sales racked up during last year’s Small Business Saturday, sponsored by American Express.
Today, locally owned retailers in Florida and around the country depend on holiday spending to help recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and offset the continuing rise of e-commerce spawned by retail giants such as Amazon and Wayfair. Every dollar you spend at a local retailer supports friends, relatives and neighbors who work there. Plus, holiday shoppers who buy locally can take pride in giving gifts that often can’t be found at mega-retailers.