All Fired Up serves as a portal to a wonderland of creative possibilities, where guests select figurines and dishware from multiple walls’ worth of pre-fired ceramics and unleash a flurry of brushstrokes over unembellished pieces. All of the shop’s bisques are dishwasher-safe, and its water-based paints are non-toxic and easily washable from hands, clothes, and Bride of Frankenstein wigs, making projects appropriate for artists of all ages. A panoply of pre-made designs makes a great starting point for gifts, which visitors can further personalize with hand, foot, or paw prints. Locally owned and operated, All Fired Up helps play its part in the community with a wealth of fundraising projects, such as paintable piggy-banks for donation drives.
Inside its colorful storefront, Metro Music & Book Store stocks an extensive collection of previously-read fiction and nonfiction, nestled alongside rows of folk, rock, pop, hip-hop, and blues albums. Many of Metro Music’s publications sell for at least half off the cover price ($8 on average), so even relatively new releases are within the reach of frugally minded book worms. In the music collection, color-coded sections allow for easy genre-based browsing for the most mind-melting cuts and the grooviest subliminal messages (CDs start at $8.98). To give a newfound book a quick scan, customers can hang out at the in-store Café Felix, a laid-back spot to sip on daily roasted coffee, snack on crêpes, and read a best-selling novel about a talking vacuum cleaner that becomes UN Secretary-General.
The warmth of the staff at Mile 5.2 Greenhouse & Gift Shop rivals the warmth of its hand-tended conservatory. The affable plant buffs rely upon customer-focused service to combat impersonal "big-box stores," gladly guiding visitors through their greenhouse's lush pathways where flowers peek from hanging baskets and tropical plants share the roof with herbs. More than 125 types of perennials and fruit-bearing boughs boost their resilience as they endure the winter cold, training their blooms to return year after year so they can one day avenge their ancestors against the weed-whackers of clumsy gardeners.
In addition to its striking greenery, the Eagle River outpost stocks their gift shop with an array of gourmet foods, ranging from Lake Champlain chocolate bars and Oregon salt-water taffy to hearty soup and bread mixes. Additionally, home accessories such as wind chimes and scented candles can pair with potted petals to create colorful gift combinations.
The largest manufacturer and supplier of paints in the Pacific Northwest, Parker Paint enables new-hue-craving customers to roll and brush fresh coats of luscious pigments onto formerly drab and dreary household surfaces. To reinvent interiors, several options await including the semigloss Wall Glow ($34.27/gallon) and the Velva Kolor ($30.59/gallon), with a less-reflective eggshell finish. Parker Paint also carries a selection of weather-scoffing exterior paints, such as the flat-finish Flextron 100 ($33.03/gallon) to help homeowners paint a realistic yet unflattering outdoor mural of the neighbors.
Like the centaur of the beauty world, Marie’s Beauty Salon and Supply seamlessly combines two creatures into one attractive whole. Entering the warmly lit studio lined with woodgrain and potted plants, guests may feel as though they’ve found the secret meeting place of their favorite beauty products—shelves are full of shampoos, conditioners, nail polishes, and skin creams by brands such as Kevin Murphy, Redken, Paul Mitchell, Moroccanoil, and Nioxin. But past the aisles lies a secret. Attached to the beauty supplier, a full-fledged salon rife with golden walls, zebra-print couches, and a flat-screen TV houses talented stylists and aestheticians who boost well-being and beauty with spa treatments and artful hairstyling. Each boasts a well-honed knowledge of every product in the next room, helping them silkify tresses and laminate lackluster nails while educating clients about what formulas will suit them best. The technicians can also smooth skin with high-tech services such as noninvasive MicroCurrent therapy, which treats fine lines and firms and improves the face's muscle tone, or Hydralessence facials, which hydrate skin dried out from trying to snuggle with heat lamps.