I’ve probably spent more on gifts of all types at Urban Bungalow than anywhere else in the last couple of years. Located at 6500 North Florida Avenue, this inviting store is sure to have something that tickles your fancy. I sat down with newly minted Creative Loafing Best of the Bay winner, David Hansen, to learn more.
Christopher Wayne Homes entered Seminole Heights about 4 years ago when David opened the store with his high school best friend, Christopher Wayne. Originally an offshoot of Christopher Wayne Homes in Nashville, the store took on its own unique identity to meet the needs of the Heights market, and was reinvented as Urban Bungalow in January 2016 when David bought his partner out.
What makes this Seminole Heights store a true gem is its focus on community and the shop local movement. Each of the store’s gifts emphasize family owned or local small businesses in the Tampa and St. Petersburg areas. Among the customized themed items- pillows, tea towels all the way down to interesting customizable choices like pocket knives, David knows design. His choices for Urban Bungalow products are spot-on for this reason.
His featured product of late is the Corkcicle, which is a drinkware collection that has local and national presence for its innovative chilling technology minus all the mess of ice and condensation. Not only will your drink not sweat in the Florida heat, but proceeds of this product goes to charity. Another favorite line in his store is Terrapin Ridge, a gourmet foods line that is helmed by a female president and located a hop over in Clearwater.
If anyone knows the Heights market, you know that we need three things: unique gifts, pizza and coffee. So it’s no surprise that David decided to not only meet the local shopping needs of the Heights market, but those of the caffeine happy locals. The coffee bar opened 2 years ago to complement the unique gifts of Urban Bungalow. Reminiscent of soda fountain of old and local baked goods, gourmet coffee and tea, the bar brews Intelligentsia coffee and Tea Forte, a James Beard award winning tea.
How does one know the locals so expertly? Well, the Hansens have a deep-rooted history in the Tampa community after migrating over from Germany. His aunt was the first female lifeguard at the Sulphur Springs pool and his grandfather worked for Howard Frankland (like the bridge) who then opened Rome Street Metal- a business lasting over 60 years. From a young age, David was raised with a total respect for the Tampa community as it was good to his family. As a third generation small-business owner, some of his favorite things to do stay in the family. His favorite restaurant? The Columbia. His parents not only had their rehearsal dinner there, but their 50th anniversary.
With unique featured products, coffee and a family history rooted in Tampa, it’s no wonder the Urban Bungalow is a gift store to remember. It’s physical footprint may be small on Florida Ave., but its entire total footprint in the state is far-reaching.