In 2012, Nicholas Catania and Ryan Sullivan, along with friend Allison Vetter, formed the social group Never Have I Ever Tampa Bay, launching a blog and a tradition of trying everything local.
The goal of the three transplants from the Northeastern U.S.: to 'discover' and share all of the unique sights, sounds and tastes of the Tampa Bay area with friends and strangers alike through their blog, social media platforms and word of mouth.
Today, newfound friends and first-time visitors attend NHIE
events across the Tampa Bay region. Through their joint efforts, Catania and Sullivan (graduates of local colleges University of Tampa
and the University of South Florida
, respectively), also have a hand in helping to shape many of the entrepreneurially focused or innovative startup business events that occur throughout the region, such as the upcoming Startup Weekend
Now, NHIE branded merchandise can be found at select Tampa stores.
In October 2015, the NHIE team announced a new partnership with Ybor City mainstay Seventh Avenue Apothecary
, a local small business where candles are still poured by hand. Earlier in 2015, the team partnered with Black & Denim's Roberto Torres to create the 'Everything Local' T-shirt, which is sold in Torres' Blind Tiger Cafe
Catania, a teacher, and Sullivan, a marketer, "decided to branch out and create local products because we love supporting local businesses," Catania says. "We live by the phrase ‘everything local,’ and enjoy finding all of the new and unique stops throughout Tampa Bay.”
Black & Denim
and 7th Avenue whose candles are sold in boutiques throughout the country, became NHIE's first partnerships because those two businesses are “local companies doing cool things in the community,” Catania says.
NHIE’s candle from 7th
Ave “carries a locally inspired Black Tea and Valencia Orange scent, representative of Tampa Bay," says Catania. Meanwhile, the 'Everything Local' T-shirt collaboration with Black & Denim "is meant to appeal to anyone who appreciates and supports local businesses."
Take a look at the shirt's design here
Any proceeds from the sales of locally inspired merchandise will allow the duo to expand efforts in the Tampa Bay area. NHIE also plans to invest in future partnerships with other local businesses.
“We hope to expand our collaborations in the future to include a whole line of NHIE ‘Everything Local’ products,” Catania says. In fact, the NHIE team is currently “in talks with a few other local brands -- so stay tuned.”
Upcoming in February 2016, NHIE will host the first-time Everything Local Market, showcasing local goods from artisans and business owners in the Tampa Bay community.
“We want our community to experience these products in their own lives, and also want new people to join us as we continue to explore ‘Everything Local,’ Catania says.
Local artisans and business owners interested in being featured at NHIE’s market event in February can email NHIE
for more information.