Why travel great distances to purchase gifts this holiday season? The Bloomingdale-Riverview area has a wealth of small businesses that carry a unique array of gifts for every member of the family, including some great gifts for cyclists, runners, tennis players and outdoorsmen.
Here are some of my favorites:
- Just Ride Bicycles, 13412 Boyette Rd., Riverview
Joe Kennedy at Just Ride Bicycles including Trek, Gary Fisher and Mirraco BMX bicycles.
"Children's bikes, especially the 20-inch, are our biggest seller this time of year, and we've got a great variety," said Kennedy.
From now until Christmas, shoppers will receive a free bike helmet with every bike purchase, a $45 value.
"That way you can give two gifts," said Kennedy.
Just Ride Bicycle is also offering 50 percent off its jerseys and customers get a free tire when they buy one.
- Hit the Trails, 13433 Fishhawk Blvd., Lithia
Running enthusiasts don't have to look far to find some great deals on running shoes and accessories. Steve Dunn of Hit the Trails has stocked his shop with everything a runner might need to cross the finish line.
"We've got some great gifts for runners, including the Simple Seat for $19.99, which keeps your car seat clean after you've been running," said Dunn.
Bondi Bands at $9.99 make great stocking stuffers. They come with slogans like "Will Run for Beer."
To prevent muscle soreness, Hit the Trails sells roller massagers for $24.99 and Dunn is selling shadow belts for $19.99.
Roller massagers to keep muscle soreness. $24.99.
Or give the runner in your life a gift card so he or she can choose a new pair of running shoes personally fitted by Dunn and his staff.
Download the coupon online and receive $5 to $10 off your purchase.
While you're visiting Hit the Trails, be sure to drop off blankets and sleeping bags for Seeds of Hope and T-shirts and old running shoes for the homeless.
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- AJ's Bikes and Boards, 1538 Bloomingdale Ave., Valrico
Owner Darrin Rutledge has stocked up on the newest bikes for the holiday season, including the 2012 Specialized EVO, Stumpjumper HT, Stumpjumper FSR and Epic 29er.
Or stop by and pick up a helmet or custom-designed T-shirt for your cyclist.
"We've got lots of things on sale including lights, socks, gloves, phenomenal shoes, computers, jerseys and warm-weather gear."
He added that a work stand or bike-specific tools are always appreciated by cyclists.
- Flint Creek Outfitters, 13425 Fishhawk Blvd., Lithia
You'll find an extensive array of items for the outdoorsman in your life at Flint Creek Outfitters including a huge selection of the fly boxes made for fresh and saltwater flies and loaded with features, $14.95 to $119.
Or choose stylish fishing tackle bags with the ability to swap out modular utility boxes to match the species your angler wants to target. Flint Creek Outfitters' fishing gear bags are also great for kayaking. They're priced at $65 to $98.
Your outdoor lover can map a route, predict the weather and record altitude data lwith an outdoor watch priced from $49 to $500. "It's like having a meteorologist on your wrist," said owner Max Michalski.
In addition, Flint Creek Outfitters offers men's and women's outdoor clothing -- jackets, shirts, pants, shoes, boots, sandals and socks -- carrying top brands including The North Face, Patagonia, Mountain Khaki, Orvis and True Flies. Prices start at $19.95.
Michalski said the Eagle's Nest Outfitters hammock is always a big seller and he just received a shipment of Emotion kayaks priced from $399 to $599.
Stop by this Saturday from 4 to 8 p.m. for Flint Creek Outfitters' holiday open house. The event will feature cooking decorating and letters to Santa for the kids. In addition, there will be a number of items on sale.
Purchase an item from Flint Creek Outfitters from now until Dec. 24 and get an additional 15 percent off.
Michalski added that he is collecting toys for A Kid's Place. Toys can be dropped off during regular business hours.
- Al's Tennis Shop, 6026 Winthrop Town Centre Ave., Riverview
Al Macasinag's shop in Winthrop Town Centre is a tennis player's dream. An approved vendor for Avila, Fila, Wilson, Babolat, he offers tennis and racquetball racquets, apparel and accessories including strings, shoes, grips, sweatbands and bags. And, if you don't see it in his shop, Macasinag will be happy to order it.
Macasinag has just gotten in the 2013 Babalot Aero Pro racquet, priced at $189 to $199. He also is offering the discontinued Gamma racquets for $79.95 to $89.95.
"It's a really, really nice racquet and you can't beat the price," he said.
Stocking stuffers tennis and racquetball players include grips, dampeners, sweatbands and headbands for $8.99.
"New at our shop is the Avex water bottle, a vacuum-insulated water bottle that holds 20 ounces,"said Macasinag. "It's self sealing and will keep whatever you put in there cool for 20 hours. It makes a neat gift for $25.
He also recommends the FLX Cool Towel for $11.99.
"You just wet it, wring it out and put it around your neck," he said. "As the water evaporates, the towel cools you. It's incredible. There's like a 20-degree difference."
Another great gift for the tennis or racquetball player is a gift certificate to have a racquet strung.
"We offer gift certificates in every amount," Macasinag said.
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