Valentine's Day is coming up, and sure, we know it's mostly a Hallmark-hyper-publicized day and all, but how can you go wrong celebrating love? Besides, it's a great way to pump money in the economy!
Last year, it is estimated that, as a nation, we spent $1.6 billion on candy, $1.9 billion on flowers, and $4.4 billion on jewelry. Add in cards, dinners, and other gifts, and overall spending for Valentine's Day, according to CNN, was expected to hit $18.6 billion, with an average of $130.97 per person.
What do these numbers all mean for us? Well, if every family in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area spent $100 of their Valentine's Day shopping budget at locally owned, independent businesses, more than $74.2 million would be directly returned to our community, according to Independent We Stand. That means more money for our schools, our roads, our police.
To make your life easier and help you spend that $100, we asked local businesses for their best gift ideas. Enjoy! And go shopping! (And in case you've forgotten, Valentine's Day is Feb. 14)
Know all those home projects you've been meaning to tackle, year after year? What better time than now? Bell Contracting and Design in Seminole suggests that if you REALLY want to impress your sweetie, a new kitchen, patio or room addition may be the way to go. Bell Contracting can be reached at 727-392-8117.Romantic Staycation
Leave behind all your worries and spend a week in paradise, says St Pete Beach Rental
. The 2 bedroom/2 bath condo in Tierra Verde overlooks Boca Ciega Bay, and comes fully furnished. Sit on the lanai, look for dolphins and daydream the day away. For information or to book your vacation, call 716-880-7026
- Glitter, glitter, glitter! We love it all! Phoenix Fire Designs suggests one of her Tree of Life pendant, beautifully handcrafted one-of-a-kind original piece with your choice of gemstone, such as shaded ombre amethyst or ruby. For details call 813-421-3731.
- Michele Tuegel Contemporary in downtown St. Pete has a TON of gift ideas: XO sterling necklaces and earrings and other jewelry (from bold statement pieces to delicate silver and gold ones), vintage heart candy tins, Jenny Krauss woven skinny belts. For the guys, puzzles, key chains and bracelet cuffs. For more ideas call 727-823-1100.
- "An Origami Owl Living Locket, of course!" writes Andi Tilly, Origami Owl designer. For locket ideas call 727-238-5665.
Sweets for your Sweetie
- Nothing beckons "Be My Valentine” like the gift of gourmet cupcakes from the Bay area’s original cupcakery, The Cupcake Spot., 405 Central Ave. in downtown St. Petersburg. Choose from any of 30+ flavors, including Red Velvet and holiday-specialty flavors like Red Hots, Pink Champagne and raspberry/chocolate. Pre-packaged Valentine’s decorated mini cupcakes available Friday the 14th and Saturday the 15th. Call 727-825-0572 for more information.
- Valentine's Day calories don't count, right? So this is the time to load up on all things chocolate! And the best treats of all? Cupcakes, of course, says I Love Cupcakes in Largo, which also carries baked goods of all kinds. (Glutten-free, too!) To place an order, call 727-543-9045.
The gift of health & beauty
- Start is with a healthy heart. Tampa Bay Natural Health recommends Bios Life C, a supplement that combines four approaches to help the body maintain healthy cholesterol levels. For more information call 727-423-0083.
- A massage doesn't just feel good, but it's also good for you! All through February, therapists Rob and Lena at The Peaceful Warrior Massage in St. Petersburg are offering a four-handed massage for only $100. For details call 727-822-8866.
- Give your sweetie a treat for his or her feet! Florida Reflexology offers half off one-hour reflexology massage for new clients. For info call 727-776-3865 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Chrysalis' Signature Sultry Radiance Treatment gets you beautifully glowing skin. Call 727-647-9448 for more information.
- "Flowers die, but abs are forever!" says Loida Pearson, owner of Edge Fitness in St. Petersburg. The gym offers couples workouts and some very special deals for Valentine's Day. Call 727-864-0333 for details.
For the entrepreneur in your life
It doesn't sound too romantic, we know, but for many of us who have our own business, what we really need are things that can help our business grow and make our time more productive. Time Systems in St. Petersburg suggests a Biometric Hand Recognition POS Time Clock System. For details call 727-898-TIME. Ask them to throw in some chocolate, too.Art, Crafts, & Home Accessories
- An adjustable electric scented gel burner and scented gel is the best gift around, says Scents from the Harts in Tarpon Springs. There are more than 70 scented gels to choose from, and they're just $3 each. The burners come in all shapes and sizes, and start at just $10. For details call 727-237-3097.
- For the guys, how about some Man Cave decor? Flattened craft beer bottles paired with a photo of you two? For the ladies, soaps, candles, and fabulous bracelets and necklaces. All hand crafted and available from Tangerine Tide.
- Add some color to the day with hand-painted and custom glass creations, gift baskets, recycled art, gel candles and painted clothing from Aussie Designs. Call 727-560-4882 for details.
The fail-proof, timeless classic? Flowers, of course. Lavish your love with 100 long-stem roses and a box of Godiva chocolate, says Bloomingdays Flower Shop in Tampa. For information on this special package, call 813-933-1942.
You want to look your best for Valentine's Day, so perhaps an early V-Day gift for yourself? Brown-Eyed Boutique & Consignment in Pinellas Park has lots of fashionable options. And you can get an extra 10 percent off any dress! (25 percent off if you have the 1Card) Call 727-366-4491 for details.
Do you have other ideas to celebrate Valentine's Day? Let us know through this form and we'll try to get them in!
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LocalShops1 features member news, events and promotions as a free service. 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.