Best Of 2015

Best Unexpectedly Great Experience

A day past the deadline for renewing his driver’s license, a CL staffer got a ticket for having out-of-date tags and needed to get new ones, pronto, which meant doing it in person. He dreaded the experience, certain he was about to waste a whole morning mired in bureaucratic lethargy. But no. The senior tax technician at the Skyway Tax Collector’s Office in South St. Pete, Kathy Dempsey, was helpful, friendly, efficient and surprisingly fast — the whole process, new license plate, new tag, and all, took about 10 minutes. With all the current talk about centralizing Florida driver’s license operations, we thought it worth noting that the system as it presently stands seems to work very well — especially when people like Kathy Dempsey are involved.

Goods & Services

Goods & Services
Best (Worst) Catch-22
Alexa Asendorf

Blame it on the amount of work he was getting, or on the arrival of the Warehouse Lofts, but Tampa craftsman Andrew Watson had to move his workshop out of Seminole Heights and into “NoHo.” The relocation effectively closed Chris Kelly’s Workspace art gallery, the trendy BackForty retail space in the back of the building, and moved BUILT to a block that suffered extreme flooding this summer, resulting in serious damage to Watson’s equipment and hand-crafted furniture. We’re all about the positive growth of neighborhoods, but can’t we find a way to keep the artists around, too?

Best Acupuncturist
Dr. Carrie Graves via

Runners Up: Josh Hansen, Dr. Sandy Carter

Best Alternative to Owning a Bike

It’s 2015 in Tampa, and you don’t have to own a bicycle to see your city at a pace that lets you appreciate all its nuance. Coast Bike Share’s beautiful blue fleet features tires that never go flat and a smartphone-based rental app that is nearly idiot-proof (you’ll still have to walk Uncle Dave through it). With membership rates dropping to $15 for up to 90 minutes of riding a day, you might even consider abandoning your auto commute a few times a week.

Best Antique Shop

Runners up: Antiques and Uniques, Vintage Post Marketplace

Best Apartment Complex

Runners Up: Fusion, Carlton Arms

Best Art Supply Store

Runners up: Hobby Lobby, AOE 

Best Auto Dealership

Runners Up: Reeves Import Motorcars, Suncoast Jeep & Chrysler

Best Auto Repair Shop
Big John's Brake & Alignment Service via Facebook

Runners Up: Lim's Autobody and Repair, Bob Lee

Best Bank

Runners Up: Wells Fargo, Chase