TOTC’s Shop Local Holiday Gift Guide

Here at Top of the Coast we love to #shoplocal and we wanted to compile a gift guide of some of our favorite local stores to find gifts for anyone on your list. We’ve narrowed our guide down to a handful of categories and crafted our guide to reflect some of our favorite stores and businesses in the area! Happy holidays and happy shopping!

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Congaree and Penn

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#iamamodernfarmer

I know, you didn’t think they still existed, especially in Jacksonville. Well, they do at Congaree and Penn on Old Kings Rd. Do the following statements ring true in your heart?

  • You are moved by the Slow Food -food that is produced or prepared in accordance with local culinary traditions, typically using high-quality locally sourced ingredients – movement.
  • You enjoy an evening out, away from the city lights, and out in nature. One that features other like minded people with great food and great conversation.
  • You are a person who appreciates the time, skill and creativity that goes into products that you use?
  • You appreciate #shoplocal and would prefer to spend your resources supporting local businesses verses large box stores.
  • You enjoy history and have a deep respect for those who take the time, energy and passion for the preservation of culture and tradition.

If any or all of these statements found you shaking your head YES – then take every opportunity to go and visit the farm, or their website. I promise you will not be disappointed. The owners live on the farm and are great to interact with and learn from.

Congaree and Penn is a farm located 20 minutes outside of Downtown Jacksonville and offers wonderful events and goodies for foodies. They have events year round and they also offer a unique assortment of gifts on their website that feature gourmet fresh flavors that any foodie will appreciate such as creole tomato jelly, pecan oil, a variety of rices from their farm and other unique and flavorful items.

Manifest Distillery

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credit: Manifest website

Manifest is downtown Jacksonville’s only full-scale distillery that opened up in the fall of 2016. They make craft spirits and offer a selection of vodkas, gins and whiskeys. They also have distillery tours where you  can go learn about what goes into making their craft spirits. The food and wine lover may enjoy making a cocktail with a bottle of their Florida Citrus Vodka, which is crafted with Florida grown oranges, grapefruit and lemon. You can check out more on their website here.

A Chef’s Studio

A Chef’s Studio is a local cooking studio for those looking to learn, share, discover and develop their cooking skills. If your gifting for a foodie who has got a passion for cuisine, give them this fun-filled and thoughtful gift where they’ll be able to sharpen their skills or learn a new technique. Choose from their popular guest chef taught, Home Chef Series, a group class, or their relaxed wine club! Check out the calendar here for upcoming classes!

Intuition Ale Works

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Photo Credit: Intuition Ale Works

Intuition Ale Works is a local brewery, located in the entertainment area of downtown, established by native Jacksonville resident Ben Davis.Intuition works to create quality, flavorful beers for you to enjoy at their tap room and across Northeast Florida. Pick up a pack for your food and wine lover or take them downtown for a drink where they’ll be able to enjoy a cold one while overlooking the St. Johns River. Intuition also has tours available for free when you visit their downtown location. Tours include a walk through the brewery, the brew process explained, and any questions you might have!

Green Room Brewing

Green Room Brewing is the first microbrewery located in Jacksonville Beach. They cater to the casual drinker and beer aficionado that call Northeast Florida home.This brewery does not serve food, but with it’s convenient location it is near all the staple restaurants of Jax Beach. Feel free to bring your own food while you kick back and relax at The Green Room.

Bold Bean Coffee Roasters

For the foodie that enjoys a good cup of Joe, a gift from Bold Bean Coffee Roasters is for them! Treat them to a latte decorated with unique latte art and a pastry at three of their convenient locations. Bold Bean hosts stores in Jacksonville Beach, Riverside and San Marco neighborhoods. What makes these coffee shops so unique is that they feature a variety of different type of coffee drinks all served by baristas that are courteous and welcoming. If your foodie loves coffee, this is the perfect gift!

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Snacks and a Show at the Sunray Cinema

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The art lover will enjoy heading to the five points area in Riverside to check out a film and have a snack. You two can catch indie classics and mainstream movies at Sunray and enjoy popcorn with the fixins bar or something more substantial like a Caesar salad, pizza, beer and wine or even a vegan (or regular) milkshake. Their website has their showtimes.

MOCA

The art lover will enjoy a trip to the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville in downtown Jacksonville where they can attend one of their events, artist q & A’s or exhibitions. Afterwards you guys can head to their restaurant NOLA MOCA for a truly unique and delicious meal. The restaurant offers an eclectic menu and has a full bar that serves hand crafted cocktails. They are open late on Thursdays and Wednesday nights during Art Walk if you two want to make a night of it and have dinner there. You can check out the latest schedule of events and exhibitions on their website here.

Theater tickets from the FSCJ Artist Series

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According to their website, “The FSCJ Artist Series is Northeast Florida’s major presenter of national and international touring attractions and is the presenting arm of the Florida State College at Jacksonville. The FSCJ Artist Series presents Broadway musicals and plays, as well as concerts, at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts downtown and at the Nathan H. Wilson Center for the Arts on Beach Blvd.” Their next season has some great shows lined up including Hamilton. Get tickets here.

Classes at the Art League of Jacksonville

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The Art League of Jacksonville offers affordable art classes for children and adults. Get them tickets to an art class at their website here.

The Write Touch

The Write Touch is an adorable store in San Macro that has an assortment of stationary, gifts and accessories that they’re sure to love. You can pick up a gift at their San Marco store or online here.

Chamblin’s Bookmine

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Chamblin’s Bookmine is a local favorite and is located in Jacksonville’s downtown area-right across from Hemming Park. It offers a wide selection of books from all sorts of niche genres. You can spend hours browsing their large collection of books. The art lover will love anything from Chamblin’s or go together, treat them to coffee and let them choose their gift!

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St. Augustine Amphitheatre

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The St. Augustine Amphitheatre is a great place to catch live national acts and local music events. There are also several bars and restaurants that feature live music every night in downtown St. Augustine. You can also sometimes catch a few street musicians performing depending on the night.

Florida Theatre

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Is a great place to catch a show with your music lover. You can see all the upcoming shows on their website and plan your event.

Other Great Live Music Venues

You can take your music lover to see a show at other excellent venues for live music like the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall , Jack Rabbits , Murray Hill Theatre and 1904 Music Hall just make sure to check online for upcoming shows and events.

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Rethreaded  

Rethreaded was started by Jacksonville native Kristin Keen. According to the company’s website, “Rethreaded renews hope, reignites dreams and releases potential for survivors of human trafficking locally and globally through business.” Rethreaded has products that are made in Jacksonville and benefit their cause which make great gifts. Items like their Threads for Hope bracelets and Grace Scarves available here.

Liv-N-Grace bracelets

Liv-N-Grace bracelets are the perfect gift for those who like to give back. They are gorgeous and come in a variety of colors and styles. The bracelets can be purchasedhere. Proceeds from the bracelets benefit The McKenzie Noelle Wilson Foundation which goes to two charities. According to their website, they are MARC centers, which serves over 300 at-risk youth in two Jacksonville communities. McKenzie’s Academic Resource Center’s offer academic tutoring, mentoring and developmental programs for students of all ages. And “McKenzie’s Home” The Foundation built three homes at the Okoa Refuge Orphanage in Uganda, Africa and in partnership with Okoa Refuge, provides medical care, food, shelter, education and love to over 75 girls, boys and infants.

A Gift from BEAM thrift

BEAM is a great place to find fantastic pieces at a great price. It also offers an eclectic mix of vintage clothes, accessories and art-all at a discounted price. The best part about BEAM is that all of the proceeds go to a great cause: the Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry.

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Ellie Bing
Ellie Bing is a great local boutique that has beautiful one of a kind vintage and modern jewelry and accessories.  There are two locations one in Avondale and one in Jax Beach and there is a new store opening in Ponte Vedra Beach. You can also shop online.

Rosie True

Rosie True is a local clothing boutique with a variety of designs. The boutique features smaller brands with local flare. Browse their collection online or in store of flowing dresses, tunic tops and vivid prints. Conveniently located with a store in San Marco and Jacksonville Beach, it is the perfect place to find a cute dress or fun piece of jewelry to make for a fantastic gift.

Pineapple Post

The Pineapple Post is another great local shop that has almost every gift imaginable for the stylish person in your life. They are probably best known for their stationary and invitations. What makes them unique is that they have an awesome selection of “print it yourself” items. Most shoppers would describe the style as preppy meets beachy. From home décor to accessories to stationary, you can’t go wrong here.

Pearl Home 


Located in the heart of Jacksonville Beach Pearl Home offers hip, modern high-end designs. It’s the perfect place to pick up a gift for your stylish loved one to display at home. It has several great interior design gifts like chic bedding and small artisan furniture pieces.

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The Bark Boutique

Is a pet store in the 5 Points area in Riverside which offers treats, toys and more your pet!  They have baked treats and cakes for dogs, training classes and more! Check them out at their store or online here.

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The Green Alligator

The Green Alligator is a wonderful gem located in the heart of Jacksonville’s Avondale neighborhood where you can find unique and educational children’s toys and specialty gift items for all the kids on your list. 

The Cummer Museum Children’s Museum

The Cummer Museum located in the heart of Riverside’s five points also houses a unique interactive and educational children’s area. A section is set up especially for tots with all sorts of art-related installations, interactive games and educational displays. The museum brings history alive with various special children’s exhibits of art and art history.Two of note are Art Connections, which brings art to life with things such as video installations and life-sized cutouts of impressionist paintings and Creativity Timeline, a vibrant three-dimensional mural depicting the entirety of art history, which spans an entire wall. In addition, the Cummer offers seasonal art classes as well as educational tours for children. A gift of a visit to the Cummer museum will be both fun and educational for the kids-and their shop has unique gifts as well!

Lucy’s Sweet Shop Cookie Decorating Party

Lucy’s Sweet Shop offers handcrafted cookies, cupcakes and cakes in a variety of flavors. The shop offers cookie, cake and cupcake decorating parties and fun for kids of all ages. Their party packages  have a 6 person minimum and 14 person limit. 

Sweet Pete’s Candy

Sweet Pete’s is a unique gem that features a variety of different kinds of candy. They are available for sampling and purchase in a beautifully decorated and whimsical shop. Upon entering Sweet Pete’s you’ll find their assorted chocolates and truffle bar to the right. Head to the back of the home and you’ll find a flight of stairs that will lead you to the second floor which houses the ice cream parlor, candy shop and fully functioning candy factory where you can oversee the creations from the glass observatory. You can purchase gift baskets or create your own in the store or online. 

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Our favorite Jacksonville DIY Couple

Any HGTV addict will tell you that there is something about couples who DIY and flip homes that is particularly charming. Just try to sit and watch one episode of Fixer Upper With Chip and Joanna Gaines or Flip or Flopped (and the multiple spin offs) during a marathon without wanting to binge watch!

One of the things Top of the Coast is particularly passionate about is DIY home projects and we found a young Jacksonville couple who have turned their love of DIY and real estate into an exciting new business.

After they were married two and a half years ago, Dror and Brooke Mida decided they wanted to start saving up to start a business flipping houses. At the time Mida was a 5th grade teacher and her husband was in flight school. They began saving up and planning ahead for their business which they have now turned into a reality.

“One of the things we’ve always been passionate about together is the real estate industry,” Brooke says. “We had to really kind of pinch our money together really tight and we had to be really committed to our financial goals so we could have that cash to invest in a property. We were very goal oriented and two years into our marriage we finally felt comfortable investing in our first property. We moved back to Jacksonville and Jacksonville has a great market for investors my Dad’s currently an investor in the city and he has a bunch of properties so we leaned on him for his knowledge of the areas as well,” she continues.

Today Dror is a commercial pilot and Brooke sells real estate full time. Brooke explains the process of how her and Dror chose the property they have recently flipped in Murray Hill.

“We chose an area and got a property that literally needed everything…I mean we kind of went in full force…it needed plumbing, electrical…you name it. We are currently working on it together. We do a lot of the work ourselves…the work that’s safe for us to do,” she says.

According to Brooke, Murray Hill is one of the hottest areas in Jacksonville for investors looking to flip houses.

“Our house is in the Murray Hill area close to Riverside. I personally have a passion for that whole area so Riverside, Murray Hill and Avondale… and I think that has been a hot market for a few years and it’s continuing to be and now that trend from Avondale to Riverside over to Murray Hill is kind of pushing that direction. Murray Hill is one of those areas where it’s still a little rough but I think investors are really starting to see the potential there because of its vicinity around those historic districts,” Brooke says.

Brooke has been able to develop an expert knowledge of the market in Jacksonville for real estate investors.

“Where we chose to invest and where our property is lies right on that line [historic Jacksonville districts]…and you have a lot of investors that are pouring into that area and starting to put money into the older properties,” she says.

Brooke says Murray Hill and the surrounding areas is transforming into a hot location in Jacksonville for young professionals and local businesses. This is due in part to investors like Dror and Brooke who are putting time and money into restoring the homes in the area.

“I think  what they are trying to accomplish is to follow in the footsteps of Riverside and kind of become that artistic, young neighborhood where people feel like they can invest in a lot of businesses and we’ve seen some of the restaurants and businesses that are going in there kind of mirror the same vibe as Riverside…so you’ve got local bakeries and bars going in and hip local businesses…so now a lot of people are investing in those historic homes and making them really nice,’ she says.

Brooke has some advice for people interested in flipping homes:

“First of all if somebody wants to get into an investment property that’s something you really have to plan for financially and you really have to be committed to saving for it because you’re not just talking about purchasing the property you have to know what money you need in reserve to fix it,” she says.

Brooke also gives some advice about how to search for the right property to flip,“When you’re looking for a property it’s important to remember you’re going to see something that is very distressed, it needs some love and you have to be able to see past the flaws and have the creativity and ability to say ‘Wow! What can I do?’ and ‘how can i make this my own?’ and you have to love it because you’re going to get down and dirty, you’re going to rip things apart and you’re going to come across things that you didn’t expect,” she says.

Brooke says that it’s also important to be prepared for surprises-her and Dror found this out during their last project.

“When we pulled up some of our laminate floors we found that some of the sub-floors were just rotted and that was something that we didn’t expect but you know that’s why it’s important to have that cash…so you’re ready to say ‘OK. I know that this house needs this, this and this so I have that money saved but then I actually have an additional 25% so if I run into a bump it’s there for me,” she says.

When it comes to how her and Dror split up their DIY duties Brooke says there are certain roles taken on by each of them.

“I’ve leaned on him more for knowledge when it comes to the construction end of things and he’s really leaned on me more for the artistic end of things such as picking out paint colors and putting up back splash against counter tops and knowing they’re good together. I would say that we’re a good team in the sense that we trust one another and kind of lean on each other’s skills,” she says.

 

Brooke explains that her Mom is the inspiration behind many of her home design ideas and that to stay on trend she usually goes online. “My parents have a bunch of properties in Jacksonville and they kind of work the same way as Dror and I. My Mom is really the eye for design. She really inspires me because she can just walk into a space and be like ‘boom! I know what I’m going to do!’ and she can have all the colors picked out and they all go together perfectly and it’s flawless so she really inspired me. There are also so many resources online that I go to stay current on modern design trends,” she says.

One of her favorite modern home design trends is a big, open kitchen. “I know that in the past kitchens weren’t really a focal point- you can see that in older homes, they were kind of a blocked off space…but now people really love having a kitchen as a social space and it opens up into the living area. So one of the things we did in our home is that we knocked down walls to make the kitchen as open as possible and we really incorporated the kitchen into the living space so it’s just a free, open floor plan” she says.

Brooke says she was able to incorporate two of her favorite modern design trends into their Murray Hill project. “As far as color trends are concerned: one of the things that we saw and I fell in love with it because it is very elegant is the color scheme of having light grays on the wall, like a blueish gray with white trim and then gray hues on the flooring. So our flooring is something that is really popular right now- a cooler toned, grayish-brown hardwood that has hints of blue in it as opposed to a more golden hued hardwood floor,” she says.
The Midas are preparing their Murray Hill home to be put on the market and are ready to move on to their next investment property soon in the Murray Hill area. Brooke also focuses on helping other buyers find the right investment property in the city through her real estate business, “Jacksonville is huge and there are so many different neighborhoods that are hot for investors there are other areas like near the airport that are starting to come up too but Murray Hill is where our heart is right now but down the road we may start to move into other areas, too,” she says. 

If you have any questions for the Midas on any of their projects or are looking for more advice about investment properties you can reach Brooke on her Facebook page or shoot her an email at Brooke@thebillsharpteam.com.