If you're planning a visit to Gainesville or have a student in this thriving college town, check out these locally made products. It's a great way to support local small businesses and get something super unique for your loved ones in the process. From incredibly beautiful soaps (yes! soaps!) to irresistible baked goods, Gainesville is home to creative, talented entrepreneurs. Below is a small guide to a few of the local artists and businesses you can support in Gainesville.
For the Art and Music Lovers
Pottery is a unique art form that dates back to nearly every ancient civilization, and here in Gainesville, there are several local artists who keep that tradition alive. Cindy Barnett of Back Porch Pottery creates unique and practical pieces that make the perfect gifts for any occasion. She explores different styles and continues to foster a sense of creativity and positivity throughout her work. Another local artist specializing in pottery is Hoyt Childers, an artist who creates functional pieces inspired by the world around us. Hoyt is a celebrated artist, and in fact, two of his pots are in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. His pieces are uniquely beautiful and would make great gifts for anyone visiting the Gainesville area looking for a little local creative expression.
Another art form that is popular with local artists is glasswork. Sarah Hinds and Sky Campbell, co-owners of Somewhere Glassworks, are local artists that blend color and their love of the natural world to create stunning pieces that are showcased around the country. Sarah is a true artist who blends her creative mind with a heart of service by providing a space for students of all ages to explore their own creativity. Sky is an artist and an engineer, blending the creative with the practical. Together they create beautiful glass pieces as well as dabble in other mediums. Their work is a true depiction of Gainesville artistry -- it is full of passion, vibrancy, and uniqueness.
In addition to sculpture, Gainesville is also home to a unique photo finishing company called, Fracture. Fracture was created by two University of Florida graduates and specializes in printing photos onto glass. What better way to remember your trip to Gainesville than to immortalize it onto glass? This is an internet-based company, so all you have to do is upload a photo to have it printed and the order can be shipped anywhere. It's like a postcard for the 21st century!
Other unique styles include a metal doll maker, Yolanda Chih-Jou Chiu, and tattoo artist, Tim Strating. Both of these artists offer their points of view through atypical mediums such as metalwork and tattoo artistry. Yolanda's use of metal to create unique pieces such as dolls, sculptures, and jewelry brings the art alive and showcases metal as a delicate medium. Tim, a tattoo artist working at Anthem Tattoo in Gainesville, utilizes his bold style to create Florida-inspired designs that blend the natural with the fantastical. You can enjoy his designs as permanent ink or as art pieces to hang up on your walls, but both Tim's and Yolanda's work would make a perfect gift for your punk-rock-loving family and friends.
For the music fan - especially the punk-rock fan, No Idea Records is an independent record label based in Gainesville that specializes in vinyl and CDs. No matter what music taste you're buying for, No Idea Records has something for everyone.
For Food Lovers
If there's one thing you can count on from Gainesville, it's that the local food scene is one of the best in Florida. Entrepreneurial foodies flock to Gainesville to showcase their unique use of local flavors, and if you're looking to impress even the most obsessed foodie in your life, look no further than some of these local favorites.
Everyone loves good, freshly baked goods, and Gainesville has two local bakeries that do not disappoint. The first is Uppercrust Bakery, which specializes in artisan baked goods. The second is Vine Sourdough Bakery, which serves up fresh, organic sourdough products. Whether you're looking for a gift for someone else or whether you just want to bring some of the Gainesville flavor home with you, do yourself a favor and check out these bakeries. The smell of fresh bread alone will keep you coming back for more.
To go with your baked goods, why not check out Fehrehnbacher's Artisan Sausage, a butcher shop deli in Gainesville? Serving up deli sandwich staples as well as offering a butcher counter, it's the perfect place to stop in and grab some different flavors for the charcuterie board back home. There are also some vegetarian options as well, for any of your friends who don't eat meat, but the best place to shop for your plant-based friends and family is definitely aha Pure Foods. Taking a "food is medicine" approach, aha creates plant-based soups that are healthy and delicious. You can find these glass jars of freshness at Ward's Supermarket in Gainesville, and they make the perfect gift for anyone in need of a homey, all-natural meal.
For wine lovers, there's Bluefield Estate Winery, which is a family-owned winery just outside of Gainesville. Their blend uses fresh, local blueberries to give its wine a uniquely rich flavor. Everything they make is handcrafted and bottled on the grounds. It's a great gift to pair with any of the other local food you've taken home or even as a gift to bring to someone's home.
Founded by Gainesville brothers Tim and Bret Larson, Opus Coffee offers sustainable, meticulously crafted, fresh coffee. Sure to perk up anyone, especially college students! You can gift a subscription or visit one of their many locations, including an Airstream coffee bar. It pairs perfectly with cafecito cups by Dani at Agua Dulce Clay Co.
With coffee on our minds, we should definitely mention the natural candles made by EarthTonix. Yes, owner Melinda York made Opus Coffee scented candles! Their soy candles and other natural products - all made in Gainesville - are seasonally available in town at several locations including the Opus Airstream, Blackadder Brewing, First Magnitude Brewing and other great independently owned shops in Gainesville. Their products are always available online at their Etsy store.
Regardless of the occasion, it's clear that local artisans can help you bring a little bit of Gainesville back home with you.