There are sporting goods stores built for the bleachers, and there are those built for the game. Cleveland Sport Goods caters to players, no matter what their game might be. It’s the only place where you can walk in like a civilian and come out looking like an NHL goalie or an NFL linebacker. It’s also one of the few remaining local, independent sporting goods stores. The 76-year-old company opened in the Cleveland Sports Arena before World War II and moved to Mayfield and Green roads in 1975. “We have experience and knowledge, and that gives us a lot of satisfied customers,” says Rich Vojticek, the owner.
A wide selection of alternative comics and graphic novels distinguishes this store from the fray. On the shelves, you’ll find not only the latest superhero rags and Powerpuff Girls paraphernalia, but selections by some of the best picture storytellers around: Chris Ware, the Hernandez Brothers, Julie Doucet, Daniel Clowes, and a whole lot more. As a special bonus, instead of creepy overweight ponytailed guys behind the counter — a comic-book store staple — you’ll be cheerfully greeted by helpful, non-creepy overweight ponytail.
We love independent record stores that still indulge peculiar tastes, in a music world increasingly bound by chains. Still, mega-stores are tempting places, because you know the odds are good they’ll have what you’re looking for. That’s why we’re so impressed by My Generation. The bins in this indie store’s long aisles are crammed with the back catalogs of popular and obscure bands alike, including the occasional rare import. We never expected to find exhaustive collections of ’80s post-punk and ’70s Kraut rock in a strip mall in Westlake.
When aliens explore America, after we’ve rendered the planet uninhabitable, surely they will remark, “Damn, what’s up with all these drugstores?” As the CVS-Rite Aid arms race drops a haze of fluorescent lighting on every other street corner, Discount Drug Mart should be celebrated for its unobtrusiveness alone. Most stores inhabit strip malls, not space-wasting, freestanding locations. Inside, the shelves are crammed with goodies — beanbag ashtrays, winter mittens, dice — at warehouse prices. Refill your Zoloft; pick up a caulk gun.
While other department stores are a virtual cacophony of screaming color and piped-in Muzak, Nordstrom is a quiet oasis of good taste. Its three floors croon, “Rest . . . relax . . . browse” while offering amenities like the Nordstrom Café (perfect for sipping lemonade and sampling a pear-and-gorgonzola salad), an espresso bar, and lounges with comfortable couches. There’s even a pianist providing a live soundtrack for your shopping experience. Nordstrom doesn’t have to shout to get you to spend. In its understated way, it compels you to buy more than you would anywhere else.
Believers in the supernatural power of fire, rejoice and light your matches. Mystic Imports is Cleveland’s source for magic candles that will solve all your problems. Does your sweetie play around? You can buy a Bust Up Break Up candle to dispel the other woman or man. Low on cash? Try lighting a flame for Blessed Better Business. Got a date at the Justice Center? Burn a Court Case candle and recite the prayer on the glass: “Dear Lord, say unto the judge to stand beside me and make war against my enemies, who threaten to spill my life’s blood.” Top your candle with oils (“Black Cat,” “Man Trap”) for extra spiritual punch, or just buy a Hexagram of Solomon necklace so the spirits will bend to your will.
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