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LocalShops1 celebrates its anniversary every year by honoring the businesses, organizations and nonprofits that help make Tampa Bay such an amazing place. To learn more go to our Community Awards event website.


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2016 Best in Biz

Posted By LocalShops1, Monday, February 27, 2017
AUG 15, 2016



ST PETERSBURG, FL – More than 150 local business and nonprofit leaders and community activists packed Marchand’s restaurant at the Vinoy in downtown St. Petersburg on Sunday, Aug 14, for the annual LocalShops1 Community Awards and 8th Birthday Bash.

The event was emceed by Noah Pransky, journalist with 10 News, and featured keynote speaker St Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman, who praised local businesses, touted the city’s commitment to local, and recognized LocalShops1’s mission to boost local businesses as the biggest buy local organization in the state. 

The awards, featuring a surprise appearance by Raymond the Rays mascot, included LocalShops1’s Best in Biz finalists and winners in 16 categories and four Community Awards recipients, and named Robin King, co-founder of Three Birds Tavern and founder of Out of the Weeds, as the LocalShops1 member of the year.

LocalShops1’s Community Awards were made possible with the support of Moorman Photographics, DJ MC White and videographer Jade Taylor Isaacs. Table sponsors included C1 Bank, Great Explorations Children’s Museum, My Hope Chest, St Pete Arts Alliance, Three Birds Tavern and writer Cheryl Hollon.

The Community Awards recipients were selected by the Awards Committee consisting of LocalShops1 members Andrea Farnum, Mermaid Bay Mercantile Co.; Michele Tuegel, Michele Tuegel Contemporary; and Robin King, Out of the Weeds & Three Birds Tavern. Each honoree received a custom mosaic designed by Gulfport artist Susanne Vernon. The honorees were:
  • Local Business Success Story: Sarah and Raphael Perrier,  Kahwa Coffee
  • Business Incubator: Gail Eggeman and Mark Johnson, Saturday Morning Market
  • Boosting the Arts: John Collins, St Pete Arts Alliance
  • Watchdog Award:  Features Staff, Tampa Bay Times

For the 16 Best in Biz categories, finalists were selected by the committee from a list of more than 500 nominees, and winners were selected from those finalists through an online poll on 

Best social media presence
  • Brocante Market
  • Family Foodie
  • I Love the Burg
  • Intensity Academy Gourmet Sauces -- WINNER
  • Mr Strong Foundation
  • Pierce Street Market

Best branding
  • Brooklyn South
  • Casita Taqueria
  • Kings Street Food
  • Red Hot Tiki Spicy Gourmet Market -- WINNER
  • Sunshine Canning
  • TeBella Tea Company

Staying power (10+ years)
  • Bayprint
  • Being, the art of living
  • Grand Kitchen & Bath
  • Mazzaro’s Italian Market  -- WINNER
  • Rick’s Home Theatre Store
  • Sunshine Automotive

Favorite newcomer
  • Cinema Squatch
  • Earth Day St Pete
  • Magnolia Lane Boutique 
  • Mermaid Bay Mercantile Company  -- WINNER
  • Purple Dot Yoga Project
  • Swah-rey

Most iconic style
  • Carla Bristol, Gallerie 909  -- WINNER
  • Duncan McClellan, Duncan McClellan Gallery
  • Kevin McBride, Mc B’s Men’s Clothing
  • Marina Williams, ARTPool Gallery
  • Michele Tuegel, Michele Tuegel Contemporary
  • Pia Goff, Pia’s Trattoria

Most dog-friendly
  • Dog Bar
  • Green Bench Brewery
  • Mangia Gourmet
  • Stella’s   -- WINNER
  • Three Birds Tavern

Best kept secret
  • Blueberry Patch Gulfport
  • Historic Shed
  • Humane Education Connection
  • Pinellas Chocolate  -- WINNER
  • St Pete Community Acupuncture
  • Tampa Coffee Club

Best hospitality staff member
  • Allison Nowicki, Annata
  • Jana Armstrong Kelly, Beach Drive Inn B&B
  • Justin Cabarga, Three Birds Tavern  -- WINNER
  • Lisa Bailey, Fergs Sports Bar
  • Sam Henderson, Peninsula Inn
  • Tyson Savoretti, The Getaway

Area’s biggest cheerleader
  • Frank Wells, Venture House
  • Hal Freedman, Hal Freedman Real Estate
  • Jon Reno La Budde, Weekly Burg Blast & Reno Beach Surf Shop
  • St Petersburg Mayor Kriseman
  • Raymond, Tampa Bay Rays  -- WINNER

Most innovative 
  • Birthday Candles for Kids
  • Community Cafe
  • Squaremouth
  • Station House
  • Takeout Button
  • Time Clock Man/Time Systems  -- WINNER

Future billionaire
  • Desiree Noisette,Cerulean Blu
  • Evan Gatscher, Evan Gatscher Studios
  • Jason Sulisufay, Sulisufay Property Group
  • Mark Ferguson, Ferg’s
  • Milind Bharvirkar, Priatek  -- WINNER
  • Rhonda Shear, Shear Enterprises

Best 501c3 non profit
  • Limbo Chihuahuas
  • PARC
  • St Pete Pride
  • St Petersburg Preservation
  • Women with Purpose

Write-in candidate for president
  • Angeline Howell, Great Explorations Children’s Museum
  • Barry Rubin, Gulfport Chamber of Commerce & Time Systems
  • Jennifer Joern, National Association of Professional Women, St. Pete chapter
  • Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, City of St. Petersburg
  • Nadine Smith, Equality Florida
  • Rita Lowman, C1 Bank   -- WINNER

Power couple
  • Colleen & Jay Dingman, Barley Mow Brewery
  • Gini Carroll & Mike Fagan, Gulfport Beach Bazaar  -- WINNER
  • Jackie & Todd Wilson, Furnish Me Vintage
  • Julie & Steve Weintraub, Gold & Diamond Source
  • Leslie & Marvin Gay, Painting With a Twist
  • Nancy & Steve Westphal, Go To Steve’s Restaurants & Catering

Best story/future best-selling author
  • Alisa  Savoretti, My Hope Chest
  • Cheryl Hollon, mystery writer
  • Howard Johnston, Chart 411
  • Kate Bradshaw, Creative Loafing  -- WINNER
  • Maddy Guenther, Botiki & O’Maddy’s Bar & Grille
  • Susan Jacobs, Wheels of Success

Favorite mural
  • A Moment to Reflect, Derek Donelly and Sebastian Coolidge
  • Alice in Wonderland, Sarah Sheppard  -- WINNER
  • Art Reflecting History, Patrick Noze
  • Rays Tunnel Mural, Ya La’Ford
  • Shine, Chad Mize
  • State Lines, Tes One and Pale Horse

The event included prizes from more than two dozen of local businesses, including Beach Drive Inn Bed and Breakfast, Chart 411, C1 Bank, Clothing with a Kiss, D-gallerie,  Eco-Musings Soapery and Such, Funky Town Boutique, GateauOChocolat,  Grow Financial, Gulfport Chamber of Commerce, Intensity Academy Gourmet Sauces, JewelScent by Charis, Mangia Gourmet, Mermaid Bay Mercantile Co, Michele Tuegel Contemporary, Museum of Fine Arts St Pete, Peace of Yoga, Perfectly Posh Charis, Practically Pikasso, Nauti Narwhal, Olive + Lemon Creations, Out of the Weeds, Radish & Company, Red Hot Tiki Spicy Gourmet Market,  Souzou, Stash, Three Birds Tavern and Time Systems.  

For media inquiries or more information, please contact Ester Venouziou or 727-637-5586.

About LocalShops1
LocalShops1 is a coalition of hundreds of independently owned  businesses and tens of thousands of energetic shoppers with the mission of advocating, promoting and offering support services to companies throughout Tampa Bay. Founded in August 2008, LocalShops1 is the region’s most active voice for small businesses.

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Mayor Kriseman's Speech at Best in Biz 2015

Posted By LocalShops1, Monday, August 10, 2015

Following is a transcript of the keynote speech St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman gave at LocalShops1's Best in Biz Awards and 7th Birthday Bash. Photo by Rob Moorman, Moorman Photographics.



Good evening. Happy 7th Birthday to LocalShops1.


Congrats on getting Noah Pransky to emcee your birthday bash. I celebrated my 53rd birthday this week - and all Noah gave me was a public records request.


In all seriousness, I think it’s great that Noah is here, giving his time to a great organization, and making sure I don’t accept any free drinks. Thank you, Noah.


Tonight, we celebrate not just all Ester and Mo have done, but we celebrate what I think makes St. Petersburg so special; our local shops - our small businesses.


You know how I feel about our small businesses, and how much of an emphasis my Administration has placed on them. We are here to help, and sometimes that means getting the hell out of the way.


The Greenhouse (formerly the Business Assistance Center) has served over 8,000 unique clients. 5,800 people have received small business counseling.


In the past 19 months, I’ve visited about 100 small businesses in our city; these are official visits, usually with my Greenhouse Manager and small business liaison, Jessica Eilerman.


During these visits we’ve done a lot of listening and a lot of learning, and we’ve done some things to make life a little easier for our business owners.


And in the coming months, we hope to make things a little easier for our aspiring business owners.


The White House recently issued a report that says when it comes to the ease of doing business, America is top 10 in the world. But when it comes to starting a business, we’re ranked 46th — much of this is due to navigating the state and local requirements needed to start a business.


Now, I don’t want to get too detailed tonight - but I do want to take advantage of this opportunity to share the news that we’ve taken a pledge to develop an online tool for entrepreneurs to be able to identify and apply for all requirements within a single day; a streamlined, business-friendly, online permitting system, so that the entire application process moves online.


Our City’s new vision statement says “we will be an innovative, creative, and competitive community”. While I like to tout regionalism, I also like to win. The last thing I want is for an entrepreneur to go to a neighboring city to do business.


And my pledge to you is that I will always champion what you’re doing and what all of our local shops are doing.


You are what makes St. Pete so special.


And so I thank you, and I congratulate all those being honored.


May the sun always shine on our innovators and entrepreneurs and local shops.


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2015 Best in Biz Grand Finale!

Posted By LocalShops1, Friday, August 7, 2015

Ester Venouziou, or 727.637.5586

AUG. 7, 2015

ST. PETERSBURG, FL -- More than 40 local businesses were honored Thursday, Aug. 6 , 2015, during LocalShops1’s seventh birthday bash and annual Best in Biz Awards, presented by C1 Bank.

This year there were five categories – Most Community-Minded, Best in Grassroots Marketing, Best New Business, Best Established Business and Best Non-Porfit. Winners were chosen through an online poll, in which more than 2,500 people participated; and by a panel of independent judges including local journalists and business professionals.

The event featured keynote speaker St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and was hosted by 10 News journalist Noah Pransky.

And the winners are …

Best Established Business

Judges’ Vote: Rick’s Home Theatre Store, St. Petersburg
People’s Choice: Jessi’s Restaurant, Pinellas Park

Best New Business
Judges’ Vote: Out of the Weeds, St. Petersburg
People’s Choice: Mangia Gourmet, Gulfport

Most Community-Minded
Judges’ Vote: Smokin’ J’s BBQ, Gulfport
People’s Choice: Gold & Diamond Source, Clearwater

Best at Grassroots Marketing
Judges’ Vote: Michele Tuegel Contemporary, St. Petersburg
People’s Choice: Pipo’s Cuban Cafe, St. Petersburg & Seminole

Best Non-Profit
Judges’ Vote: The Kind Mouse Productions, St. Petersburg
People’s Choice: Paws for Friendship, Tampa

In addition to the business awards, LocalShops1 presented its annual Floppy Hat Award for Community Service to St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. The annual award goes to a civic or community member who goes above and beyond to support local businesses and the Buy Local movement. Kriseman was recognized for his Small Business Tours and other pro-local business programs, and during the Best in Biz Awards he announced plans for new initiatives to make it easier for entrepreneurs to navigate through the regulations required to open up shop in St. Petersburg. 

The sold-out event with an overflow standing-room crowd took place at the Museum of Fine Arts in downtown St. Petesrburg.


Sponsors included C1 Bank, Moorman Photographics, Jessi’s Restaurant, Three Birds Tavern, Degrees of Success,  Toastmasters District 48, Richter Publishing and Grand Kitchen + Bath. Event Supporters included Dr. Johanna Turner, Steve’s Gourmet Olives, Olympia Catering, Red Hot Tiki Spicy Gourmet Market, The Domino Effect, Rick’s Home Theatre Store, Time Systems, Museum of Fine Arts, Gold & Diamond Source, Bell Contracting & Design, Pipo’s Cuban Cafe and Smokin’ J’s BBQ.


The centerpieces were prepared by Dean Liston and Shannon Kelly of Central Oddities and Shannon’s Web in St. Petersburg.

The other contenders in the Best in Biz contest: 
Finalists, Best Established Business

Bella Babies, Pinellas Park
Big Sea Design & Development, St. Petersburg
Grand Kitchen And Bath, St. Petersburg
Rubin Health Center, St. Petersburg
The Peaceful Warrior Massage, St. Petersburg

Finalists, Best New Business
Big T Printing, St. Petersburg
Central Oddities, St. Petersburg
Enigma, St. Petersburg
Johanna Turner, chiropractor, Clearwater
La V, St. Petersburg
Locale Market, St. Petersburg
Roadside Attraction, Largo
St. PetersBARK, St. Petersburg

Finalists, Best at Grassroots Marketing
Degrees of Success, Tampa
Richter Publishing, Tampa
Stash- a Place for Yarn, St. Petersburg
The Fashion Movement, Tampa

Finalists, Most Community-Minded
Backyard Getaway, Bradenton
Cerulean Blu, St. Petersburg
Fresh Threads, Tampa
Gallerie 909, St. Petersburg
Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce, Gulfport
Time Systems, St. Petersburg

Best Non-Profit
Birds of Paradise, Bradenton
CASA - Community Action Stops Abuse, St. Petersburg
Creative Clay, St. Petersburg
ERA, St. Petersburg 
Fulfill Your Destiny, Tampa
Grand Central District Association, St. Petersburg
Limbo Chihuahuas, Gulfport
Toastmasters District 48, Gulfport

About LocalShops1
LocalShops1 is a coalition of hundreds of independently owned  businesses and tens of thousands of energetic shoppers with the mission of advocating, promoting and offering support services to companies throughout Tampa Bay.  Founded in August 2008, LocalShops1 is the region’s most active voice for small businesses.

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2015 Best in Biz Awards: Meet the Finalists!

Posted By LocalShops1, Thursday, July 2, 2015
Updated: Thursday, July 2, 2015

When: 5-8 pm Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015

Where: Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Drive, St. Petersburg

Why: To honor the best local businesses in the Tampa Bay region

How: Tickets available at


Information on vendor spots, sponsorships and advertising in the program guide: email


Every year LocalShops1 celebrates its birthday by honoring the people and businesses that make Tampa Bay such an awesome place! This year's event takes place 5-8 pm Thursday, Aug 6, 2015, at the Museum of Fine Arts in downtown St. Petersburg, with keynote speaker St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.


LocalShops1's Best in Biz Awards, presented by C1 Bank, feature our special guest emcee Noah Pransky, award-winning journalist at WTPS 10 News.  Our photography sponsor is Moorman Photographics.

Winners will be selected in the following categories, one each in People's Choice and Judges' Vote. The online vote takes place July 13-24, 2015. For links to vote and for updates go to


To see who made it to the finals round, click on the name of the category:

Best New Business
These are the businesses that launched in the past five years, but are already the talk of the town! Businesses that are innovative, creative and daring. Most of all, we're looking for living proof that dedication pays off.

Best Established Business
Lasting power is what this one is all about. Despite the economic ups and downs, these are shops, restaurants and other businesses that have carried on and continue to make our neighborhoods happier and brighter!

Best at Grassroots Marketing
There’s no huge advertising budget, but this business doesn’t need giant billboards to get the message out. Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, email marketing, cross-promotions, and good old-fashioned word of mouth bring in customers. 

Most Community-Minded Business
These business owners go above and beyond to help local charities and other local businesses. These are the ones who organize fundraisers, donate to silent auctions, help tech-challenged neighbors and give shoutouts to emerging entrepreneurs. Why? Because they care.

Best Non-Profit
We are looking for inspiring non-profits, the ones who find creative ways to collaborate with local businesses to create the buzz and raise money to help further their mission and make Tampa Bay a better place. Open only to registered 501c3 organizations. 



Link to vote, July 13-24:

Link to tickets:




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Keynote Speaker: St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman

Posted By LocalShops1, Thursday, July 2, 2015

LocalShops1 is excited to welcome St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman as the keynote speaker of the LocalShops1 2015 Best in Biz Awards, presented by C1 Bank. The event takes place 5-8 pm Thursday, Aug. 6, at the Museum of Fine Arts. Admission is open to the public.


Mayor Kriseman took office in January 2014 and literally hit the road running to follow through on his campaign pledges to help cut the red tape and make St. Petersburg a friendlier place for small businesses. Through his Small Business Tour and forums for small businesses, Mayor Kriseman spends much of his time speaking with local business owners, visiting their shops and restaurants, hearing their concerns. And then he goes back to City Hall and takes action. Under the mayor's leadership, the city has seen a renewed emphasis on locally owned businesses, while at the same time attracting larger companies into St. Petersburg.


Before becoming mayor, Rick Kriseman served for six years in the Florida House of Representatives and as his caucus's policy chairman from 2011-2012. From 2000-2006, he represented District 1 on the St. Petersburg City Council and served as the council chairman in 2005.  Mayor Kriseman has a degree in broadcasting from the University of Florida and a J.D. from Stetson University College of Law.  He is married to Kerry, a St. Petersburg native, and they have two children, Jordan and Samuel. Together, the Krisemans serve as a volunteer puppy raiser family for Southeastern Guide Dog.




Link to vote:

Link to tickets:

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