Aside from purveying colorful flower arrangements and gift baskets, Trias Flowers carries decades of rich history. The florist's lively tale began more than 100 years ago in Cuba. Opened on the island by the shop's namesake, Pedro Trias, the shop relocated to Miami in 1967. While the store was brought to life in Cuba, it has thrived here. And today, more than a century after its inception, Trias Flowers carries on its generational success. The shop is open daily and offers same-day delivery for all local orders. Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Best Bookstore
Photo by Monica McGivern

Nathaniel Sandler wants you to read, and he has put his profits (or lack of 'em) where his literature is: His nonprofit library has offered customers one free book every single day for the past nine years (each additional book costs $2). It's an eyebrow-raising business model that often leaves patrons exclaiming, "Free?! Really?!" Really! The radical bookshop is generously funded by the Knight Foundation and has given away 40,000 books in Miami to date. Billing itself as a no-kill shelter for books, Bookleggers happily accepts book donations at its green-and-white-striped book boxes around town, at its headquarters at the Bakehouse Art Complex in Wynwood (on Tuesdays), and by appointment. In May, the nonprofit launched a new Sunday pop-up from a former shoe store at 1600 Washington Ave. in South Beach, offering sunscreen, shot glasses, beach towels, bathrobes, and stacks of free books.

Locally owned independent bookstores have nearly gone the way of the dodo. The mom-and-pop locations that remain have survived for a reason. They've built a stronghold in the community and a reputation for being book-lovers' bookstores. Come for the books, stay for the atmosphere. Big Apple Books has all that going for it and more. NPR could stage a Tiny Desk Concert here and you'd hardly know it was a remote shot. One day you might walk in to the scent of incense burning and Bob Marley playing, the next you might hear jazz or the Beatles blaring. Rob, the longtime owner, is constantly stocking his shelves with books, records, CDs, DVDs, and anything else he thinks his clientele might find of interest. He takes in so much, he doesn't have room to display all of it, so there are always boxes of yet-to-be-discovered gems scattered around. Oh, and everything is priced at $4 or less. If that's not a throwback to a better time, what is?

Museo Del Disco
Photo by Jessica Gibbs

When you waltz into a record store, there's at least a 50 percent chance you're absolutely clueless as to what you're looking for. Maybe you're just there for the experience, maybe you're looking to see if a random record calls out to you from the shelves. Either way, you might as well have as many options at your disposal as possible. At Museo del Disco in Coral Terrace, you can browse 10,000 square feet of music. It's South Florida's largest music emporium, and its spacious aisles allow shoppers the room to peruse English-language and Latin selections to their hearts' content — all while remaining socially distanced.

Goblin's Heist Comics
Photo by Joshua Ceballos

As any card-carrying comic book nerd will tell you, a good comic book store needs more than comics to keep you coming back. With digital comics and online retailers all vying for your hard-earned cash, a shop needs to make you feel like a part of a community — and a league of your own. Goblin's Heist Comics (formerly Tattoos and Comics) fosters that sense of community and camaraderie among geek culture aficionados in a way that makes you want to come in every week for a comic but stay for the conversation. Aside from offering a wide selection of new and old comics, graphic novels, figures, toys, and stickers, this Hialeah comic shop serves as a gathering hub for the local geek and art scenes. Once every other month, Goblin's Heist hosts "Goblin Fest," a block party and arts festival that includes video game tournaments, music performances, and local artist showcases. You can also buy a ton of comics at majorly reduced prices, so you can catch up on the latest Avengers and Justice League escapades for a bargain deal. The next Goblin Fest is slated for October, and you can check the store's Instagram page, @goblinsheist, for more info on scheduling. Even if you can't make the fest, stop into the shop and strike up a conversation with the staff. If you don't know what kind of comic you're looking for, they'll help you find it, and you'll more than likely make some friends along the way. Open daily noon to 9 p.m.

Natural K9
Courtesy of Natural K9 Supplies

Its shelves bursting with top-quality organic, all-natural and holistic products, Natural K9 Supplies is dedicated to giving your dog a healthy lifestyle. The store, which has locations in Miami and Pembroke Pines, prides itself on its nutritional knowledge. Find anything from handcrafted goat's milk soap ($7.29) to "Pumpk'n Spice" chewy treats ($5.49). And while it's not implied in the name, the store carries products for your cat, too. Hours at the Miami store are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

It's more than a year and a half into the pandemic, and your dog is starting to look more like a mop than a pup. They're long overdue for a haircut — but like many businesses, his brick-and-mortar groomer has been shuttered owing to COVID. Well,, Betty's Woof can roll right up to your driveway to give your dog a proper scrub, trim, and mani/pedi. Traveling across the city in a van adorned with the motto "pet grooming with love," the Betty's aims to bring a personal touch to the pet-grooming trade. Give 'em a call, make an appointment, and give your pooch the proper pampering they deserve.

SoMi Pet Resort & Dog Daycare
Photo courtesy of SoMi Pet Resort & Dog Daycare

Rafael Gutierrez, managing partner of SoMi Pet Resort, likens his business to a good restaurant. SoMi does two things and two things only, and it does both of them well. It offers boarding and daycare for dogs and cats when their humans need to take a vacation or go to work. Staff members genuinely care for animals and have extensive experience in the pet boarding and daycare industries. SoMi is an exciting place. The kitties get cat condos and toys. The pups splash around in pools designed for big and small breeds. At capacity, SoMi can board about 200 dogs. And whenever you start to miss your furry best friend, the facility is equipped with cameras so you can peek at your pet sleeping, running, playing, and making new pals. Hours are 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

If you think only a certain type of figure can wear clingy knits during the coolest days of the year, reconfigure your mind. KRELwear is the tropical knitwear for everybody on the spectrum of woman, of whatever stature, dressing for any kind of Miami weather. Owner and designer Karelle Levy uses yarns of every color you can think of to feed into her on-site loom and craft custom pieces to order — although she does have a limited amount of off-the-rack stock available for purchase as well. The pieces — including rompers, shorts and tanks, midi skirts with crop tops, wraps, kaftans, halters, minidresses, you name it (and if you can't name it, Levy will name it for you, or show you a picture of it) — cling gently to the body like a peach to its stone. As in, sweetly. And they also come off without a fight.

The pandemic has hit all businesses pretty hard, but locally owned establishments probably bore a bigger brunt. So instead of sauntering off to a Men's Wearhouse or Nordstrom when you need a suit, stop by Austin Burke instead. For more than 70 years, the shop has been helping Miami men look extra-sharp by providing an array of designer brands and custom-made suits. The attentive service is the key here, with tailors making sure you leave with a suit that not only fits your style but your body as well. At a time when it's so easy to buy things with a quick tap on your phone, Austin Burke reminds you that some things are worth doing in person — and procuring a well-tailored suit is one of those things.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®