by Liza Mitchell
The holiday conspiracy begins long before the shopping season is upon us. Christmas gear is paraded out months in advance. Advertisers for big-box retail chains clamor for our attention, reaching into the collective mind and pocket of the consumer and encouraging the belief that we need what they are pushing. Bah humbug. Turn off the television, put down the sales fliers and visit your local merchants.
EU Jacksonville is a big proponent of keeping local dollars in the local community, and a proponent of the Go-Lo initiative. Thinking outside the “big-box” is an easy way to reinvest in our city. It helps nurture our locally owned businesses that primarily serve the local market. Buying local allows us to be more self-sufficient and creates character and prosperity right outside of our own front doors. And it’s a bona fide guarantee that you will find something for everyone on your list.
Get outside. Walk to the neighborhood boutiques, bike to the corner bakery, reduce your imprint on the environment and maximize the economic output in your area. Taking those first few important steps will help you get reacquainted with your neighbors and fall in love with your community all over again. In the spirit of the season, EU Jacksonville wants to help you find what you need in your neck of the woods.
As one of Jacksonville’s most diverse and eclectic enclaves, Riverside is also one of the most pedestrian-friendly. Vintage clothing and jewelry; high-end fashions; eco-friendly soaps and candles; rich, organic floral designs; fresh-baked pastries; collectible and out-of-print books; personalized stationary; and even superhero swag are available from the artistic corridor of the 5 Points district to the Historic Shoppes of Avondale.
Bakery Moderne (corner of Stockton and Myra streets, 389-7117) Serving up artisanal breads, fresh-baked pastries and desserts, gourmet coffee, seasonal dishes and custom cake designs, Riverside’s neighborhood bakery can satisfy a sweet tooth or soothe you with warm comfort food. Word has it that their legendary coconut macaroons are slap-your-mama good!
Bark Boutique (1021 Park Street, 356-4530) For the dog that has everything, this upscale boutique features the very best in canine couture with fancy collars and leashes, pet carriers, blankets, toys and dog bedding. They also feature grain-free food and fresh-baked doggie treats.
The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens (829 Riverside Avenue, 899-6035) Support art and enjoy fabulous shopping at the same time. Champagne & Shopping is the annual one-day event showcasing hand-painted linens, hand-carved olivewood ornaments, educational art puzzles, embroidered silk scarves and hand-crafted jewelry. Holiday shopping at the Cummer is also expanding to include a partnership with Ethan Allen at Town Center through December 18 and a newly minted gift service program with experienced gift concierge, Jane Holmes, by calling 825-0729.
Edge City (1017 Park Street, 353-9423) An institution in 5 Points for over three decades, Edge City has proved to be a worthy adversary for its retail counterparts. Vibrant, quirky, eclectic and high-end designer fashions, shimmering glass cases of sparkly jewelry, accessories and everything you never knew you wanted but just have to have.
Fans & Stoves (1059 Park Street, 354-3768) So much more than fans and stoves. Vintage jewelry, clothing, 70s toys, antique dolls, and other rare and unusual artifacts are staged throughout the space to create a labyrinth of elaborate proportions.
Glen Certain Studio (2665 Park Street, 388-2001) Organic, accessible, rustic, elegant. The artists at Glenn Certain craft designs that fit an atmosphere or create an atmosphere using cut flowers, blooming plants and fresh foliage.
Peacock Republic (1504 King Street, 859-8281) Features “eco-luxe” soaps, shampoos and other products in scents with such names as Fields of Grace, Hope in My Pocket and Random Acts of Kindness. Yes, you will smell good if you shop there. But more importantly, you will feel good. For every product sold, basic necessities like soap and shampoo are donated to those in need. And a portion of the proceeds from every candle purchase is donated to local charities helping others to keep the lights on, bellies full and roof overhead.
Southern Crossing Antiques (2718 Park Street, 384-1757) More antiques than square footage, and that is no easy fit given the monolithic proportions of this space. Vintage kitsch, antique furniture, jewelry, trinkets and more.
Ton Up Jacksonville (580 College Street, 619-6955) For the gear-head in your life. Ton Up Jacksonville is a combination garage and retail space modeled after the 60s British “café racer” style. Features include a cycle lift, tools, and tire mounting with a chill lounge area that focuses on the social side of cycling. Cool cycle-inspired T-shirts and club memberships are available.
Universe of Super Heroes (2724 Park Street, 389-3312 and in Jacksonville Beach at 1124-3 3rd Street North, 372-0400) For the superhero in us all. The Universe of Super Heroes features rare and collectible issues, back issues and new comics, toys and figurines and proudly boasts the largest selection of death metal music in a galaxy not-so-far way.
The Historic Shoppes of Avondale evoke a certain sense of nostalgia with neat, tidy rows of immaculately appointed boutiques and specialty shops and art galleries. The unique blend of merchants caters to both the upscale and affordable markets in a festive and family-friendly setting. The 28th annual Riverside Avondale Luminaria celebration begins at sunset December 18 followed by the Luminaria bike ride at 6 pm. Participants must have a helmet and bike lights and are encouraged to decorate their bikes.
All About the Dog (3657 St. Johns Avenue, 240-4869) People like their dogs and want them to be happy. This shop is literally all about the dogs, whether it’s a playful puppy or a pampered pooch- and everything in between.
Anita’s Garden Shop (3737 St. Johns Avenue, 388-2060) Anita’s specializes in English garden baskets, wreaths, orchids and topiaries. The lush garden atmosphere is a nod to traditional European elegance and offers beautifully cultivated and sophisticated creations for all occasions.
Avondale Artworks (3568 St. Johns Avenue, 384-8797) Enhance your home or work space with distinctive art that speaks to you. Makes a perfect gift for that special someone, or treat yourself to some wall candy. Custom framing services are available.
Emly Benham (3611 St. Johns Avenue, 387-2121) Every girl wants to channel their inner Carrie Bradshaw. With a dazzling array of fabulous designer shoes from Jimmy Choo and the like, it’s just steps away. Emly Benham also features beautiful bags.
Cowford Traders (3563 St. Johns Avenue, 387-4557) Need something for a teacher, a neighbor, mother-in-law or best friend? Everything you need to make someone feel special is under one roof, from bags, bath products, kitchen ornaments and jewelry.
Doing Dishes Pottery Studios (3568 St. Johns Avenue, 388-7088) Painting your own pottery is a perfect holiday activity for your pint-size Picasso. Pick a piece to paint for a parent, grandparent or teacher. Gift certificates are also available.
The Hobbie Horse (3550 St. Johns Avenue, 389-7992) Make little Jack and Jill look as if they stepped off the canvas of a Norman Rockwell painting. Neat and tidy heirloom pieces befitting a christening or other special occasion are among the items available for the prince or princess in your life. Fine kid’s shoes, accessories, bedding, furniture and nursery décor items are also in stock.
Girly Girls (3550-A St. Johns Avenue, 388-8428) The frilly companion to its neighbor, the Hobbie Horse. Girly Girls is the cherry on the sundae for the sassy little diva in your life.
W90+ (3548 St. Johns Avenue, 413-0025) New upscale wine destination promises to please the most discerning palette. Wine selections are rated at 90-points or higher. Gourmet cheeses, dried meats, crackers and fresh bread available.
It doesn’t get more walkable than the San Marco Square. Rich in history- and luxury shopping- the Y-shaped trisect of Hendricks Avenue and Atlantic and San Marco Boulevards delivers high-end women’s fashions in abundance with a healthy balance of architecture and history.
Dance Trance (1515 San Marco Boulevard, 390-0939) Fitness, fun and friends. Dance Trance classes are open to beginners and experienced dancers. Kids’ classes are also available. Pick up a class and some cool gear to boot.
Edwards of San Marco (2018 San Marco Boulevard, 396-7990) A cacophony of gifts for the everyman. Edwards offers everything from football-themed paraphernalia and ornaments to fine cigars and humidors.
MBody Yoga San Marco (1533 San Marco Boulevard, 748-YOGA) Students of all levels are invited to indulge in a Baptiste Power Yoga class to “reset, refresh and realize their true potential.” Give the gift of a true physical and spiritual experience.
My Best Friend’s Closet (2002 San Marco Boulevard, 591-0432). A secondhand store deserving of a second look, My Best Friend’s Closet features gently worn fashions and a stylish collection of bags. All of the clothing starts at size 14.
Olive (1988 San Marco Boulevard, 346-1900) Billed as an upscale clothing and lifestyle boutique, Olive is more than a retail destination. It provides the ultimate experience with private Ladies Night Out for group or one-on-one stylings, professional denim fitting with an Olive consultant and wine and appetizers.
Reve (1958 San Marco Boulevard, 396-9399) Pronounced “ruh-vay,” Reve is a blend of beauty, art and diversity with a mix of high-end clothing, jewelry from local artisans and accessories to die for.
San Marco Bookstore (1971 San Marco Boulevard, 396-7597) The family-owned and operated book store offers current, collectible and out of print titles in a cozy, neighborhood setting
The Write Touch (1967 San Marco Boulevard, 398-2009) It’s not just about what you say but how you say it. The Write Touch shows you a thing or two about presentation with leather goods, custom stationary and invitations, books, fine pens and other fine gifts.
Therapie (1960 San Marco Boulevard, 393-4945) Splendid, French Connection and Ella Moss are just a few of the big names available at Therapie. Look like you shopped in a major metropolis without leaving the neighborhood.
The Downtown Revisioning Project is taking shape with the welcome addition of many new restaurants and retail establishments. Downtown Jacksonville serves as the hub of the city and its vibrant, central core is finally reflective of that with everything from fine wines to vintage vinyl.
Aly Cat (2 Independent Drive, 699-8109) Customize your favorite glassware or select a unique piece from the in-store selection. Aly Cat offers etching, engraving and sandblasting to create a one-of-a-kind memory on wood, stone or glass frames, bottles or jewelry. Guests can purchase a bottle of wine and have it engraved while shopping.
Budget Records (228 East Forsyth Street, 428-2675) Run in and grab the album you are looking for or take your time and stroll through the vinyl selections ranging from vintage 50s records to current music. CD’s, VHS and DVDs are also available for the picking.
Chamblins Uptown (225 North Laura Street, 674-0868) The chic, urban counterpart to the original Chamblin’s Bookmine, the 12,000 bi-level location is Jacksonville’s largest independent book store with a mammoth selection of new and used titles, collectible books, magazines and DVD rentals. Grab a book and relax in the hip expresso and coffee bar or bring in your used books and trade them in for cold, hard cash.
Jacobs Jewelers (204 North Laura Street, 356-1655) Enjoy delightful holiday decorations as you browse all the bangles and sparkles. Jacobs specializes in keepsake gifts that will be treasured for many Christmas’ to come.
Kara Bazma (2 West Independent Drive, 685-8807) Have your new holiday dress custom-fit to your body in store. One-size-fits all need not apply. All dresses are unique and one of a kind.
The Museum Store @ MOCA (333 North Laura Street, 366-6911) Always a favorite holiday destination, the Museum Store offers art in a variety of mediums from local, national and international artists as well as educational toys, contemporary jewelry, home décor and art books for both the collector or the admirer.
Poppy Love Smoke (112 East Adams Street, 354-1988) Cigar aficionados and wine lovers, take notice. This trendy space is the place to peruse the stock, enjoy a glass in the hip lounge area or grab a smoke and a bottle to enjoy at home.
Professional Tailoring & Alternations (42 West Adams Street, 358-9540) Making Jacksonville look their best for 21 years, this Downtown tailor specializes in alteration and custom fitting for men and women. If that new jacket or fine dress that Santa brought, needs a nip here and a tuck there, they can work magic.
River City Gourmet (2 West Independent Drive, 654-4402) The name says it all. Create a gourmet gift basket with handmade pastas, salts of the world, olive oil and balsamic vinegar from the tasting bar and other kitchen essentials.
Known for its stunning architecture, Springfield has a rightful place on the National register of Historic Places. The evolution of Springfield continues with the ongoing restoration of the 19th and early 20th century homes, drawing an influx of new businesses, restaurants and night spots to the once-struggling area. Many of the neighborhood’s homes are featured in the annual Springfield Tour of Homes.
Blossom’s Shabby Chic (1843 Liberty Street, 443-822-1343) Discover modern pieces mixed with high-end china and funky antiques in the ultimate “cottage industry” experience. Meet with owner Margi Feldman by appointment.
Flowers Express (2504 North Main Street, 353-3278) Family owned and operated, Flowers Express delivers the finest custom floral arrangements, gourmet gift baskets, stuffed animals, balloons and more for the one you love.
Sweet Pete’s (1922 North Pearl Street, 509-4764) Specializing in candy-filled gift towers loaded with all-natural sweets and chocolates. Boxes can be customized for the perfect gift or a tasty centerpiece at your holiday table.
Tres Leches Desserts (1839 North Pearl Street, 551-4375) More than just desserts. Lunch menu includes fresh empanadas, quiche, cachitos, eggplant lasagna and more. Save room for sweet confections as Tres Leches’ Caribbean lime pie, strawberry meringue cake and chocolate raspberry cake. Dine-in, take-out and catering available.