Shop at these local businesses that won Broward's Best Shopping in 2021.
Best Adult Store: LeatherWerks
1226 N.E. 4th Avenue, Fort Lauderdale
Photo via Facebook.
From 2014 to 2020, SFGN readers chose the Pride Factory Broward’s Best Adult Store. But every Goliath has a David; and the one who shook the Factory off its throne is LeatherWerks.
But LeatherWerks is no newcomer.
Founded by community icons Bear Man and Eric Lawrence in 1995, it is the south’s premier leather and fetish shop, one that addresses the needs of the Leather/SM/Fetish community.
According to the Werks’ Mark McKenzie, in the early days, founders Bear Man and Lawrence and one part-time employee operated the store.
They have two locations: their main showroom in Fort Lauderdale and a smaller store inside Ramrod.
“From those early days, we prided ourselves on addressing the needs of the LGBTQ+ community and the greater pansexual fetish community. The LeatherWerks family — from our management team to our sales associate team — works to ensure each customer has a positive experience. We recognize that our customers have evolving needs and interests and we strive to keep a step ahead to meet those needs.”
LeatherWerks prides itself on being active in the community.
“This includes providing educational events and meeting space to local clubs and organizations,” he said. “Our physical store hosts classes and benefit events for leather title holders and not for profit organizations.”
Best Gift Store: To The Moon
2205 Wilton Drive, Fort Lauderdale
Photo via Facebook.
For the seventh year in a row, the winner of Best Gift Store is To The Moon.
“Well of course we want to thank the readers,” said owner Antonio Dumas.
To The Moon sells an eclectic array of candy and toys for children and adults alike. Some of their unique items include Christmas ornaments, X-rated cards, and collections of Betty Boop, Lucy, and Wizard of Oz.
“No supply chain shortage here, plenty in stock,” he said. “We are a one stop shop for all your ‘holigay’ needs, greeting cards, gift wrap, ornaments cover the ceiling, and of course holiday sweets.”
Some of the store’s most popular items include anything related to Golden Girls of which the store has about 20 different items. Check out their puzzles too, featuring Dolly, Prince, Freddie Mercury and Hocus Pocus. Dumas’ favorite candies include any of the German specialties such as lebkuchen, pfeffernusse, and dominosteine.
Runner-Up: Pride Factory
Best Thrift Store: Out of the Closet
2097 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors
1785 East Sunrise Blvd.Fort Lauderdale
Photo via Pixabay.
And the winner for Best Thrift Store goes to Out of the Closet — for the seventh year in a row.
Like most businesses when COVID-19 hit, Out of the Closet closed its doors and kept employees on the payroll, according to José Vazquez, the manager of the Wilton Manors store. The stores have since reopened.
The goal of the stores is to help fund the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
“When you shop [here] you’re directly helping people living with HIV,” Vazquez said in 2020. “Ninety-six cents of every dollar collected goes directly to fund AHF’s HIV/AIDS programs and the new housing services, as well as on site pharmacies and free HIV testing. This is where our various clients and customers get their medication, shop, donate, and get tested all in one place. They would be lost without us.”
Best Consignment: Decades Design Group
1500 NE 4th Ave., Fort Lauderdale
2661 N Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale
Photo via Instagram.
For the second time in a row, Decades Design Group has won “Best Consignment.”
The shop is popular because of its reasonable prices and has a variety of furniture, lighting and home décor.
When the lockdown first started, Decades was able to persevere through.
“We’ve been lucky,” said co-owner Chaffi Schiaffino in 2020. “Because of the virus, people are focused on their homes.”
The store has been running for 20 years.
“Decades always has unique fines. I was looking for a buffet/sideboard cabinet. I found a Ralph Laurent piece from his Modern Collection for $1,700 including taxes and shipping. It was in very good condition. I researched the original cost of that piece and it was over $20K. I love going there and finding great buys,” a Yelp reviewer wrote.
Runner-up: Odd Balls
Best Art Gallery: Claudia Castillo Art Studio
2215 Wilton Dr.
Photo via Facebook.
Claudia Castillo has won the Best Gallery for the third year in a row.
In the summer of 2017, Castillo opened her Art studio.
“We are a boutique art gallery providing a variety of quality original artwork, sculptures, accessories, jewelry and unique gifts for everyone, Castillo said. “The gallery focuses on Claudia Castillo's artwork as well as other established and emerging artists. Proud to have been voted SFGN Best Gallery and Best Artist in 2021, 2020 & 2019.
Her studio and gallery space are always welcoming and open late into the evening. Her goal is to create an art incubator space where emerging artists can exhibit their work and grow their networks and gain visibility in the community. She invites new artists to display their work every month.
"I am very happy to have founded my own gallery in Wilton Manors, where I exhibit my work and give opportunities to other artists," Castillo said.
Runner-Up: Art Frenzie
Best Clothing Store: Pride Factory
Photo via Facebook.
Fashion lovers and anyone looking for stylish looks know Pride Factory is the place to find quality looks. The store is in the process of relocating from Fort Lauderdale to 2282 Wilton Drive, which is home to Georgie’s Alibi Monkey Bar and Hunters Nightclub.
So when will the doors to the new location open? “We are progressing as quickly as we can,” Lori Deak, Pride Factory's vice president of operations, SFGN said.
Pride Factory first opened its doors in Fort Lauderdale in 1996, and soon became a shopping staple and favorite destination among SFGN readers. “I hope it is because we are doing our job properly and providing them with what they are searching for,” said Deak.
The store specializes in stylish men’s fashion including, swimwear, underwear, accessories, and men’s novelty items. The new Wilton Drive location will be larger and able to accommodate more shoppers. Deak says it will have additional floor space, extra dressing rooms, and some surprises!
Check out the rest of the winners at SFGN's Best of 2021 Winners.