Ima Shoppinghere - December 15, 2011
I think there's evidence that the smartest people in the world live and work in Downtown Tampa. Exhibit A is the success of the Old Tampa Book Company that proves we are a city of readers. The spark that lit the bibliophile craze on Tampa Street was kindled in 1995 by David and Ellen Brown; sixteen years since its opening, the store has grown from 2,000 to more than 40,000 books. I rest my case.
And thus it was that I was able to spend my entire lunch hour, and then some, at the Old Tampa Book Company today. I walked out with four gifts for people on my list, and one gift especially chosen just for me.
The front window display has always drawn me into the store. I have often found bargains for $1.00 in the outside bins of the store, and when I go inside to pay, I invariabley find more. This is a store where you can buy a gift that wil not be duplicated. It is also a store where you can sort through the books by interest - I was drawn to the collectible books, and to the subject of "Ladies Etiquette," as this area of American cultural history interests me greatly. The Civil War collection is very admirable, and I could tell that there's typically a lot of traffic around this area of the store, as well as the section on modern politics. We are drawn by the great dramas of state, aren't we?
I stumbled upon Aldington's biography of T. E. Lawrence which caused a scandal on its publication, and an immediate backlash! It was just sitting there on the top of a stack of books, seemingly minding its own business...
If you are buying for a collector, the store has collectible books in a seperate section. As far as I'm concerned, everything in this place is collectible.
Therefore, instead of wordy book reviews, today's blog will be a photo tour of some of the best collections of words. These, and about 39,900 more are all at The Old Tampa Book Company waiting for you to drop in, pick up, and add to your own personal treasure.
See anything you like here? If not, trust me, you will find books you will love in this quiet and lovely place. As for me, I picked up a Rock Island Railroad history for our son, who once loved the Rock Island train near our home in Chicago so much that until he was nine, he wanted to become a train conductor when he grew up. So I bought him some memories. I also picked up a collectible copy of Madeline and the Bad Hat for my friend who is collector of children's books.
Running back to the office, with thoughts of visiting Beverly's Card & Gift Shop tomorrow. Quick.. what's the oldest surviving retail establishment in Downtown Tampa? Check in tomorrow for the answer!
December 16, 2011 - Ima Shoppinhere.
The oldest surviving retailer in Tampa is not Beverly's Card Shop (begun in 1963) by Beverly Gray who gave Downtown Tampa its first card and gift shop. It is Hayman's Jewelry Store that began it's establishment in Downtown Tampa in the 1930's. I'm going to Haymans this week - need to buy a gold charm and a new Christmas pin. Also, need to get my watch fixed.
Beverly's Card and Gift Shop is in its original locale, and has become somewhat of an institution on Franklin Street, surviving the exodus of other retail shopping establishments and staying open for all of us to find gifts and cards on our lunch hour, or before and after work. Today, it is also a resource for the thousands of residents in Downtown Tampa. If you haven't been to Beverly's, I'm going to assume you don't get out much. Beverly Gray has passed on, but the shop is still operated by her family. I call it our very own "Little Shop Around the Corner."
I walked in looking for a gift for my hard-to-buy-for brother, my niece who is home from college, and my god-daughter, Angelina, who just turned 4. I could also use some stocking stuffers.
Walked in, and there it was. Angelina's gift! You may have seen this advertised on TV - It's the interactive Storybook and Story Buddy by Hallmark. Jingles Countdown to Christmas is a book that comes with Jingles the Huskey Dog. When you read key words in his book, Jingles answers all on his own. So when Angelina's mom or dad or grandparents read the book, Jingles will know when certain words are read and will react - like a true reading buddy. I also buy her the book, "A Snowy Day for Jingle." Isn't it a perfect book for a little girl who lives in Buffalo New York - ya think?
Beverly's also has Santa's Magic Pen - a beautiful book and pen set. This highly collectible gift set features a beautiful pen, that appears to to be wood, with beautiful winter scenes depicted on its sides. Also included is a storybook that tells the story of Santa's pen and simpler time. The gift box has a magnetic closure and is made to appear like a book with bindings printed on each side and pages on top and bottom. It's $19.99 - a wonderful keepsake for a child to keep and show his or her own children one day.
Now for that brother. My sister said to buy him anything for his "golf room" and he'll be happy. Really?!? They're house is turning into a museum, but I digress. Just as I digress, I find perfect gifts for the "golf room." A golf frame, golf lamp, golf bookends. I get the frame, and figure I'll come back for the lamp for his birthday. Great stuff, and I didn't break the bank.
My eye catches a great holiday card to send his son who just got his first job out of college in the office of a large agricultural company. I figured money is the best gift for a kid who just moved into his own apartment. The card's audio talks about how great Christmas is because you can say "hey man, I love you this many dollars." I give pause, but still buy this silly funny card. After I bought it, there was only one left. Skedaddle if you want it .
Also found great stocking stuffers, ornaments, and gifts for kids in college. When you walk in the door, go to the right and see the Peanuts orchestra - a wireless musical miracle. Ask for a demonstration! Below is a photo collage of things that I found that might interest you - Downtown Tampa does have a solution for last minute gift needs.
BREAKING NEWS IN THE BACK OF BEVERLY'S! SALE - MARKDOWNS - BARGAINS!! 40% Off. 50% Off.
I'm off to the FED EX STORE on Tampa Street to have all my treasures packed up and sent in time for the holidays! Then to the US POST OFFICE (on Ashley and Kennedy) to send out the rest of my holiday cards. TIMES A WASTIN!
Back to work - with time to stop at FRESH for a VERY FRESH salad to go.
Tomorrow, I'm off to two GREAT museum stores..... Stay tuned!
Bye from Ima the Breathless!!
MORE STUFF, Including a great frame for a dorm room.