Rick and Peggy Whittlake’s small shop is deceiving. This custom framing and cross-stitch operation is rad, stocked with 2,000 corner samples, 3,000 mat boards, and custom shadow boxes done with computer-cut precision. My antique “Rolling Stones Tour of Europe” t-shirt is now as impressive as any Bucs jersey. Add full-service cross-stitch supplies with 7,100 patterns in stock and quarterly “stitch-ins” and you’ve got a regional treasure. Don’t miss Gracie, the Bay area’s best-dressed miniature poodle. 9204 Ulmerton Rd., Largo, 727-518-1400. craftyframer.com.
Runners Up: Post Apartments, Lamdmark at Grand Palms
Who among us hasn’t knocked their coffee/water/wine onto their computer’s keypad and freaked out? Good news… there is a saint in our community, a savior of information who keeps us from slashing our wrists at the realization that we’ve been too lazy to back up our info for three months and that the project we’ve been slaving over is toast unless he works his miracles on our behalf. Steve Bush, at Screwbox, is the man for Macs. He epitomizes competence. Bless him. 3117 W. Columbus Drive, Tampa, 813-784-4178. thescrewbox.com.
Runner Up: Andrew Winchell of Mark Dalton, Inc.
Runners Up: Marpena Auto, Bill's Family Garage
Whether you’re looking to get a bun in the oven, already baking, or looking for post-bun delivery advice, Thank You Mama has you covered, from fertility and pre-natal acupuncture to massage, tinctures, teas and all that’s in between. There’s even a boutique of earth momma-friendly supplies. And the ladies that operate this network are incredibly connected goddesses, hip to the earthiest information on how to rear and raise in harmony with nature. 1511 4th St. N., St Petersburg, 727-289-7250. thankyou-mama.com.
Runners Up: Chase, Regions
Runners Up: H20, Gandy Barber Shop
It’s where you’ll find the best little box, best medium box, and best you-didn’t-know-you-needed-it-till-you-saw-it-in-The-Container-Store box — itself a big shiny white box whose ambience is so bright and playful, its employees so genuinely cheerful, that it may make you rethink your anti-big-box-store bias. But the best part is the merch, a dazzling range of items in a variety of price ranges to meet all kinds of storage needs, like the find we made on a recent visit: an ingenious drop-down spice rack that solves once and for all the problem of shuffling through all those little jars from Savory Spice Shop. 4720 W. Spruce St. (corner of Spruce and Westshore across from International Plaza), Tampa, 813-774-4060. containerstore.com.
Runners Up: Velo Champ, Chainwheel Drive