In support of #SmallBusinessSaturday we’ve come up with a local’s only gift guide to make supporting your community, and conquering your holiday shopping list a little easier. Check out these PLAYGROUND-approved, locally owned businesses and the gifts we think are definitely worth giving.
Learning Express: Iliana and Vik Mavinkurve opened Learning Express in Ocoee earlier this year. This specialty toy store breaks the mold of big-box toy stores with its wide array of unique toys and gifts, along with customized services like free gift wrapping, complimentary personalization of select items, birthday registries and even a curb-side gift pick-up for those extra busy days. A hot buy for the holidays is the Mini Ogodisk Set — perfect for outdoor fun.
Leisa Lovely Designs: Five years ago, mom Leisa Covelli started Leisa Lovely designs out of her Central Florida home. She now operates out of a Fern Lake storefront where she specializes in unique gifts and monogrammed items. Need a gift for someone with team spirit? Leisa Lovely will create custom embroidery orders with that person’s favorite team logo.
Liapela: Owner and founder Alejandra Salazar opened her first Liapela store in 2007, expanding to Orlando in late 2012. The Millenia-area location features high-end baby products and a kid-friendly show room. Standout item this holiday season: Prince Lionheart’s Balance Bike. The bike teaches children balance and steering, helping in the transition to pedal bikes. Check out the website for even more options.
Macrobaby: Macrobaby is Central Florida’s one-stop-shop for all of your baby needs. The Florida Mall-area store offers a wide array of products, in-store 3D and 4D ultrasounds, a photo studio, limo service and more. Florida residents with valid ID get 10 percent off their entire order (some exclusions may apply). The item they’re most excited about this season—the Bugaboo Stroller. Suitable for a newborn or toddler, the multi-terrain Bugaboo Cameleon³ can seamlessly adapt to your journey, whether that’s through the city, woods, sand or snow.
Pigtails and Crewcuts: This Dr. Phillips-based shop is as cute as its name. With an inviting décor, video games and an exceptional staff of stylists, the children’s-only salon has turned haircut time into party time. Check out the line of organic hair care products by Original Sprout. They are 100 percent vegan, free of parabens and sulfates and designed to be safe for all members of the family. Plus: Pig Tails & Crewcuts offers superior ear piercing services, and for the month of December they are offering their fashion earrings for just $10!
Qubits: As seen on NBC’s Shark Tank, Qubits, the toy that teaches modular design and geometric shapes is brought to you by Orlando locals, Mark and Lisa Burginger. This toy makes a great gift for curious kids who love to build, and can be purchased online at www.qubitstoy.com. Want to check it out in person, ask for it by name at the Orlando Science Center, or any of the Orange County Libraries.
The Sacred Olive: The Sacred Olive is the creation of Carolyn Hill whose passion for cooking came from spending time in the kitchen with her mother from a very young age. The Sacred Olive provides specialty olive oils and vinegars in a variety of flavors, perfect for the foodie on your list this season. Oils and vinegars can be purchased online at www.thesacredolive.com or in person at the tasting room in downtown Winter Garden.
Simply Shelby: Shelby Finkelstein, owner of Simply Shelby, is an on-location photographer specializing in modern lifestyle baby, children, family and maternity photography. Shelby is located in Central Florida and offers sessions on weekdays and weekends. If you can swing it, a shoot during the week will save you $75. Set up a photo shoot for the New Year at www.simplyshelbyphoto.com and tell Shelby that PLAYGROUND sent you to get 10 percent off!
Tugboat & the Bird: This adorable Park Ave. boutique features classic children’s brands like Florence Eiseman, Amanda Remembered, and Vive La Fete, as well as their own private label. Owner Laura Haftel opened Tugboat & the Bird in September 2001 and has been filling our children’s closets ever since. Any new mommies on your shopping list? Tugboat & the Bird carries the Sweet Seraphina line of bib and cloth sets that are functional, yet stylish.
Walk on Water: Orlando-based business guru Roxane Mann opened her first Walk on Water store in Lake Mary in 2004. Three years later, she opened her second location in the Winter Park Village shopping center. The sophisticated boutiques bring you all of the best brands in women’s clothing, accessories, jewelry and gifts. For the leading lady in your life, pick up an Alex and Ani bangle set with personalized charms that match her personality.