Okay. Where do I even begin?
First of all, it’s a miracle that I walked out with my wallet still intact. I think that deserves a nice round of applause. (Thank you, thank you very much…..oh, by the way I’m Audrey Jennifer! Hello!)
But fortunately, concern for my wallet’s well-being didn’t come from me being in a dangerous location fearing for my life and possessions. Quite the contrary, actually! I was at DTSP historic venue Nova 535 for their 2016 Holiday Shopping event on Thursday, November 10, 2016, and man oh man, was it hard to do my job with all the beautiful distractions screaming “Buy me, buy me!!”
Nova’s bamboo-lined courtyard space was completely filled with people sitting to relax in between shopping bouts and enjoying the deliciousness provided by the St. Pete Taco Lady food truck on sight. As well as those browsing through the outdoor vendors who took advantage of the open space on this absolutely gorgeous Florida evening. The uniquely styled vendor buses and trailers were so endearingly displayed that it was almost impossible to muster the strength to pass them by without spending some time shopping. But I was on a mission to explore all of what this Holiday Shopping event had to offer, and I knew there were two stories of pure magic still waiting for me through those building doors.
As I walked inside, the first thing I noticed was that the entire first floor was covered with perfectly placed vendors from some of the area’s very best retailers. Each one was surrounded by interested shoppers looking to spoil themselves and/or their friends and family with some unique local gifts for the holiday season. It filled my heart to see some of our favorite businesses receiving such incredible support and to see our guests enjoying themselves as much as they were while browsing through such incredible shopping options! I think we all can relate to the incredible feeling one gets from picking out the perfect gift for a loved one. But when we know the gift we’ve purchased also has a story behind it that we can relate to (much like many of our local businesses have), it gives that gift so much more meaning. It was pretty cool to see all that coming together, under the roof of NOVA 535, St. Pete’s finest and most beloved event venue.
Upstairs is where I found most of our regular Entrepreneur Social Club attendees shopping around when I arrived. They’d all already congregated up to browsing through Nova’s loft where more vendors were thoughtfully placed. Each of them seemed to be having an absolute blast spending their hard-earned money to support fellow local entrepreneurs. It was so fun to watch. After all, isn’t supporting and lifting one another up what we’re here for in the first place?
It wasn’t long before I joined in on, uh, supporting the businesses.
Listen, I’d done my best to remain strong in this event, as I was simply there to take photos and absorb the experience of what the event had to offer me. But apparently, it had a new pair of patterned pants and a charmed handmade wrapped bracelet to offer me, and I wasn’t about to argue with that. My bracelet came from a brand called Recover-T, which was created by a sweet woman named Evelyn. She crafts these beautiful pieces by hand using recycled old t-shirts and carefully selected charms.
What captivated me even more than the aesthetics of the brand was the fact that she gives a portion of the proceeds back to a local addiction recovery clinic. She explained to me that she began this business with the purpose of fighting waste and addiction, and the specific clinic that she gives to is one that she has personally experienced the life-saving benefits of. I loved that she was continuing a cycle of loving and supporting her community by sharing something from her heart and personal talents, as it seemed to add significantly more value to my purchase.
The more I explored the Holiday Shopping event throughout the ground of Nova 535, the more I got to know each of the vendors a little bit more closely. The more my heart was filled (and wallet lightened) because it was a beautiful reminder of the immense amount of talent, passion, drive and heart that we have circling throughout our very own precious town. I was so happy to be there to experience so much local love and support, and I certainly look forward to the next one.
I have to say, I love Entrepreneur Social Club weekly… but this was, by far, my favorite ESC event. Can we please have more shopping opportunities incorporated in our meetings from now on? Thanks, guys. 😉 See you next week!
Don’t forget to visit Nova535.com if you’re getting married or have a special event coming up! It’s St. Pete’s most unique venue and was voted to be our best “blank canvas” wedding venue. Set up a tour today or come and see me at one of our exciting public events to see it for yourself!
Hope you enjoyed my story of shopping, (some) willpower and supporting our local St. Pete vendors! PS Check out all my event photos below, please download, share and enjoy!
Still here? You should join us for our weekly Entrepreneur Social Club, usually with sit down meeting, drinking, socializing and then dinner at a delightful DTSP restaurant. Plus, on Thursday Dec 8, 2016 it’s our 9th annual holiday party NOVA NOEL. It’s so much fun with Santa and his beautiful elves, the live music by Gloria West, the (optional) dinner buffet, plus Got Jokes? Improv after 11 pm…and other surprises!