by Maddy Zollo Rusbosin | March 23, 2021
Florida Boutiques We Can’t Live Without
Strip malls and tourist traps have given the Florida shopping scene a bad rep, but the Sunshine State is full of bespoke boutiques—if you know where to look.
Whether you’re driving around downtown Tampa or cruising along U.S. Route 1, the majority of shops you’ll pass seemingly fall into two categories: big box retailers like T.J. Maxx and Target or tacky, tourist-centric surf and souvenir shops. While there’s no denying the overabundance of gimmicky gear and national chains, Florida also has more than its fair share of bespoke boutiques. These hidden gems can be found across the state with each one boasting its own authentic flair thanks to passionate owners hoping to bring something unique to their hometowns. Through a highly curated selection of merchandise, inviting interiors, and most of all, the community they provide, these shopping destinations are beloved by locals and visitors alike. Below, find our favorite Sunshine State boutiques that make it next to impossible to leave empty-handed.
Just look for the black-and-white awning in the Shoppes of Avondale, part of Jacksonville’s historic district, and you’ll find Tenley Dietrich. Started in 2015 as a place to showcase all things beautiful and well-designed, the boutique has everything from apparel and fine jewelry to books and gifts. “We love to celebrate entrepreneurship and partnering with female-owned and local businesses,” explains owner Tenley Dietrich. She makes it a priority to carry women-run Florida brands like Jipse, Bohemian Reves and Corvega and is always traveling to bring back items that give customers the thrill of the find.
3548 Saint Johns Avenue, Jacksonville, FL
Hearth & Soul
This homey Tallahassee boutique was born out of a little soul-searching. Five years ago, Susie Busch Transou stopped to reflect on all the things that brought her happiness: home, friends, family, community, hospitality and sharing unique finds with others. Why not create a place that merged all of her loves together? Before long, Hearth & Soul became just that. Its interior is laid out like a home (an intentional design decision so customers can imagine the pieces in their own space), and because everything, including the furniture, is for sale, there’s a constant flux of new merchandise. “Making friends is our business,” Busch Transou explains. “And hospitality is at the heart of everything we do.”
1410 Market Street, Tallahassee, FL
Unlike the other boutiques on our list, BECASA is more than just a store; it’s a clothing brand too. Its creation stemmed from designer and founder Emily Raffield’s love of beach-ready fashion and her desire to make pieces that would become staples in womens’ wardrobes. “We take our clients feedback into the design process each season,” Raffield says. “We also like collaborating with other Floridians. We’ve worked with Jacksonville artist Maggie Mathews on a special collection inspired by St. George Island, Laura Patrick with Tallahassee’s Lello Co. and Miami’s LPL Jewelry.” Beyond its Gulf Coast-inspired styles, the store itself exudes a boho chic vibe with exposed brick, trendy plants, unique merch and an overall feel that blends Old Florida with tropical whimsy—and they just expanded, opening their second location in Inlet Beach earlier this month.
115 Commerce Street, Apalachicola, FL
Having vacationed in 30A their whole lives, owners Cindy Krutz and Celia Roberts Tucker decided to move to the area in 2005. However, there was one major problem: There was nowhere cool to shop. In order to fill this gaping void in the market, they opened Willow, lining its racks and shelves with chic street styles and resort lifestyle brands. It’s glowing reception within the community led the Willow enterprise to open two more locations within a ten-mile radius along with an e-commerce store. “We have a lot of different brands that are exclusive to us and hard to find,” Krutz says, thinking of Italian high fashion brand Golden Goose and French fashion designer Isabel Marant. “Having a skincare store within our Mercer location is another aspect of our business that makes us stand out since we carry clean beauty lines you can’t find for hundreds of miles. We’re able to introduce products to people that they’ve never known about.”
5 Main Street 3A, Rosemary Beach, FL
Manne White and Nickie Smith bonded over their love of fashion. The two met in college, moved to New York City together, then eventually packed their bags to head South and open up their own boutique, Penelope T. Both locations, one in Tampa and one in Jacksonville, are dedicated to showcasing a mix of big designers and emerging brands, including local ones such as Tampa’s Omika and 7th Avenue Apothecary. “We pride ourselves on bringing in five to 10 new designers each season,” Smith says. “We host multiple events including designer trunk shows, markets with local collaborators, and charity events. At the end of the day, we want to be the neighborhood hangout where you get to meet up with your friends and be inspired by new clothes.”
3310 West Bay to Bay Boulevard, Tampa, FL
2400 South Third Street, Suite 102, Jacksonville Beach, FL
Don Me Now
What’s better than shopping? Shopping with a glass of champagne in hand. For that very reason, the owners of Don Me Now decided to open Tampa’s only full-service champagne bar and retail boutique in the Downtown/Channel District. Not only does the space lend itself to hosting specialty events like pop-ups, charity fundraisers and private parties, but its modern interior is filled with the latest cotemporary styles, ranging from national designers to custom tees the owner made to support their hometown Super Bowl champs.
1211 Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, FL
No matter if it’s your first time at The Grove or the hundredth, expect to be met with a wave of enthusiasm as soon as you walk in. “We want you to feel like you’re shopping in your friend’s home,” co-owner Meredith Gardner says. “Customers are met with a friendly face, a glass of wine and an invite to stay and hang out with children, dogs and the like in tow.” While the good vibes are enough of a reason to stick around, there’s also a wide selection of women’s apparel, gifts, and home furnishings (and in-house designers are available if you’re looking for a more drastic revamp). You’ll always find local businesses on the shelves, including The Tiny Orchid Co., Lisa Anderson Art, and the Lauren Sigman Collection, all of which have permanent spots within the store. Plus, The Grove ladies are always hosting pop-ups, fitness classes, bourbon tastings, and even a birds of prey experience with the Audubon Society in their outdoor courtyard.
341 North Pennsylvania Avenue, Winter Park, FL
Just a few steps off of Winter Park’s bustling Park Avenue is Frank, a far cry from your average gift shop. Owner Tracy Klingler bought the space on a whim, thinking it’d be a fun side project for her to retire into. Much to her surprise, it was more of an undertaking than expected, so she eventually stepped away from her law career to focus on the store full time. She filled its shelves with an eclectic mix of items that are high quality, well-priced and not all over your favorite influencer’s feed. “When I hear people say, ‘I didn’t know what to get, but I knew I’d find something here,’ I feel like we’ve done our job,” Klingler says. With an ever-changing inventory and fan favorites like customized cutting and charcuterie boards, it’s Klingler’s mission that no one leaves the store feeling like they didn’t have luck. “We really do our research to find gifts that our customers feel good about giving—or keeping for themselves!”
119 East Morse Boulevard, Winter Park, FL
When you’re trying to decorate a new home, the last thing you want is to wait weeks or months for furniture. It was that exact frustration that led Sara McCann to open Hive Home, Gift, & Garden in 2013. Everything is sold right off the floor, making it easy for Palm Beach residents to get what they want, when they want it, and thanks to its one-stop shop nature, Hive carries bigger statement pieces along with little treasures designed to make a house a home. The store has now expanded with Hive For Her, For Him & For Kids, which caters to the South Florida lifestyle, selling luxury resortwear like Cara Cara, unique gifts and naturally, white jeans all year long.
Hive Home, Gift & Garden 424 Palm Street, West Palm Beach, FL
Hive For Her, For Him & For Kids 1609 South Dixie, West Palm Beach, FL
Haven Palm Beach
Having just opened fall 2020, Haven Palm Beach is part boutique, part art exhibit. “We are an experiential gallery,” explains owner Stephanie Kantis, who curated it to be a place where you can find one-of-a-kind pieces that range from home and garden décor to fashion and gifts from local makers. Haven also has a rotating artist in residence each month whose work is displayed and available for purchase. “We have cherry-picked fabulous artisans and designers locally from the South Florida region, as well as exceptional international talent. We pride ourselves on being a ‘Mecca’ of great artisan finds,” Kantis adds. As you browse, get your caffeine fix at the in-store coffee shop that serves up local Chikmonk roasts and keep an eye out for their “Create” workshop series, where Haven hosts experts with a focus on holistic living, such as a natural beauty seminar with skincare guru Tammy Fender or how to live a plastic-free life in partnership with local nonprofit Kantis Cares.
211 Royal Poinciana Way, Palm Beach, FL
Like the vibrant Wynwood Arts District it’s a part of, Frangipani has an innate electricity about it. “I love color, and I feel like our store reflects Miami’s spirit: It’s energetic, fun and tropical,” says owner Jennifer Frehling. Once involved in the furniture and design industry, Frehling brought her vision for the store to life with an unusual mix of items, ranging from uncommon gifts to handcrafted goods to sustainable brands like Miami’s Mavrans, a swim line made from recycled bottles. “I love to travel, so I’m constantly inspired by handmade items from around the world, including textiles, basketry and beading,” she says. “We truly offer things that you don’t see often.”
2239 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL
Housed within a 1939 art deco hotel on Collins Avenue, The Webster exudes style before you even go inside. Now the only guests within its 20,000-square-foot interior are there to shop. Owner Laure Heriard Dubreuil, who used to work as a merchandiser for Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent, merged her luxury background with her own personal taste to create a three-story fashion oasis. Unlike department stores where designers are grouped together, browsing at The Webster is like exploring someone’s very fabulous closet that has everything from high-end designers like Chanel and Tom Ford to new up-and-comers that embody the Miami Beach spirit.