Here are SFGN's "Best of 2019" winners in the Shopping category in Broward County.

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Adult Store & Clothing Store

Pride Factory

850 NE 13th St,
Fort Lauderdale
954-463-6600
PrideFactory.com

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The Pride Factory won in two categories: the Best Adult Store and the Best Clothing Store. 

Lori Deak, Vice President of the Pride Factory credited her friendly and helpful staff for their success. She said the staff “are there to support the customers and help them find what they want to buy.”

According to Deak, the Pride Factory strives for a niche market of unique quality goods. The store seeks out quality goods and “offers a wide variety in every department.” This depends on developing a relationship with customers. Deak said her customers are “always willing to provide input regarding the things they would like to see in our store."

The adult store features a variety of adult toys and lube. It also has non-leather harnesses and lots of sexy underwear. The adult section does not hide behind a “leather curtain,” but is in an open, well-lit area in the back.

The clothing store features beach and dance wear: shorts, tee-shirts, and tank tops. It has even more underwear. In addition, the store has, for lack of a better word, butch fanny packs. They also carry military style bags/briefcases.

– SMS


Gift Store

To The Moon

2205 Wilton Dr,
Fort Lauderdale
954-564-2987
ToTheMoonMarketplace.com

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To the Moon won in two categories: Best Gift Store and Best Business. When you first walk into the store, you notice that every square inch is filled with items. Most items measure less than three inches in height.

The large number of small items looks like a cleaning nightmare, but the owner, Antonio Dumas said, “It moves so fast that that it doesn’t really have time to get filthy. We turn merchandise very quickly.” 

Dumas has an infectious enthusiasm for what he sells. He exclaimed, “There are so many wonderful products out there that I want to buy everything. I want people to see everything that I think is wonderful. My challenge is to make it fit to make it work keeping it all organized.” To The Moon caries over 20,000 different items in a 1,200 square foot space.

To The Moon has a very large and loyal customer base so its no wonder To The Moon also won Best Business. Plus you’d be hard pressed to find any store as special and unique as this tucked away gift shop. 

About four months ago, someone burglarized the store. Dumas described the outpouring from the community as just amazing. The store had videos of the burglary. Their customers shared those videos. According to Dumas, they went viral. That’s another measure of community support. 

– SMS


Thrift Store

Out of the Closet

1785 E Sunrise Blvd,
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
954-462-9442
Locations.outofthecloset.org

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Out of the Closet won in the Best Thrift Store category. Manager Bill Butler credits their win to people knowing that the store funds the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). 

According to Butler, supporting AHF is “what we’re all about." Butler said their profits provide the funds for AHF to pay for free HIV and STD testing. Those funds also pay for prescriptions for people who can't afford them. AHF funds the Broward Wellness Center. That center has doctors, dentists, and a pharmacy. Butler said “the whole reason why we’re successful is because we are providing a service for people who can’t afford it.”

Butler said that their biggest challenge is a lack of space to store donations. They get 35 to 40 donations a day. When “Out of the Closet” has no more storage space, Butler has to stop accepting certain items. He believes that some people are giving back because they're better off than they were. Butler feels that people donate to Out of the Closet because the store gives so much back to the community.

– SMS

 


Art Gallery

Castillo Art Studio

2215 Wilton Dr,
Wilton Manors 
954-274-7047
ClaudiaCastilloArtStudio.com

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Claudia Castillo won in the Best Artist category. Her studio, the “Castillo Art Studio,” won In the Best Art Gallery categories. She said she likes “being an artist and enjoys meeting and welcoming people to my studio in Wilton Manors.” Her art boutique welcomes everyone. Once there, they can browse its selection of artwork, gifts, and jewelry.  

Castillo finds sharing her art to be very rewarding. She appreciates it when people connect with the emotions that inspired her art. Her customers give her love, warmth, and energy. When people place her art in their homes and businesses, she feels honored. Her biggest regret is lacking the time to “explore, develop, and paint” all that inspires her.

On her website, she describes her process as being emotionally inspired by nature. She depicted the outcome as “instinctive and spontaneous: simply colors and forms.” Her art includes bracelets, paintings, and sculptures. In a YouTube video, she portrayed her art as expressionist, emotional, and spontaneous. She “tries to bring joy and happiness to this world.”

– SMS

 

Check out all of SFGN's 2019 Best Of's @

southfloridagaynews.com/Bestof2019

or see the Print edition @

SFGN's Best Of 2019: Full Print Edition

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