Clothes and furniture find new life at Red Racks Thrift Stores. Through donations, the staffers at the store's 13 locations fill their racks and shelves with thousands of second-hand items for kids and adults, including name-brand garments from the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, Levi’s, The Loft, and Donna Karan New York. They also stock furniture and other miscellaneous goods, such as books and home décor.
And something odd happens when these items arrive at checkout—the register doesn't ring up any sales tax. That's because Red Racks is a nonprofit organization, and all proceeds go to benefit the Disabled American Veterans, an organization that has advocated on behalf of veterans for more than nine decades. Red Racks' altruistic mission has proved successful so far—the inventory of each store typically turns over every 3–4 weeks.
Originally opened by owner Hillary Dutcher in Columbus, Ohio, Ivy Hill Boutique packs its cozy shop with women’s jewelry, apparel, and accessories from both well-known and emerging designers. Shoppers of every primping preference can adorn themselves in Idylle novelty tees ($48), fend off winged monkeys with a Tolani scarf ($78), and store their valuable Confederate scrip in Delux wallets ($26). Otherwise, wrap yourself in finery from Trina Turk and Susana Monaco (both starting at $70) to draw admiring stares from every passerby and envious stares from every naked passerby. Jewelry lovers, meanwhile, can bedazzle themselves with agate rings ($28), Viv and Ingrid birthstone stud earrings ($18), and David Aubrey initial necklaces ($48). One quick wallop from a Big Buddha handbag ($70 and up) is enough to dispatch up to seven shoplifters at a time, after which you can wash your hands of the whole affair with Gianna Rose soaps ($12 and up) and light a sage candle ($26 and up) in memory of your favorite Star Wars stormtrooper.
The shelves at Looking Glass Designs teem with jewelry, bags, apparel, and gifts for children and adults alike. Adorn barren wrists, lonely necks, and empty earlobes with handmade beaded jewelry sets in contemporary and antique styles. Stylish serving items include wine glasses etched with the fleur-de-lis, the national symbol of Rhode Island ($8). Recycled coffee bags come together in Sun Ministries eco-friendly totes, and each tan and gingham-patterned bag helps to send young missionaries into inner-city areas. The shop also stocks scarves ($15–$35), baby gifts and apparel ($10–$50), soy candles ($14), and natural loofah bath scrubbies ($7). For an additional fee, customers can choose to have owner Andrea Heugatter, whose needle skills helped her to win the Riverfront Times 2009 award for Best Personalized Gifts, emblazon gifts with names, personal messages, or grocery lists.
The smoke sommeliers of HSB Tobacconist curate a grand collection of fine cigars, pipe and cigarette tobaccos, shisha, and all necessary accessories. DIY rollers can peruse the stock of loose cigarette tobaccos, such as a 6-ounce bag of Custom Blends Blend 1 ($24.95), a mild mix of Virginia and Burley tobaccos that crumbles readily into the contents of a 200-count box of Texas Tubes ($3.50). Loose-pipe plumage ages in jars upon the shelves, with concoctions such as Sangria, rich with wine and fruit flavors ($3.50/oz.), and Royal Champagne, inspired by the preferred beverage of Buckingham Palace house parties ($3.50/oz.). The shop also stocks a vast array of pipes, hookahs, and lighters, ideal for igniting matches when their striking pads cease to work.
Blue Moon Activewear, which Alive Magazine rated 2010’s "Best Place to Buy Workout Gear,” stocks more than 30 top brands of practical, comfortable, stylish clothes—clothes meant to gracefully accommodate every day’s activities, be they yoga, cycling, running, or running to catch a yoga class, not to be imprisoned in a the back corner of a closet alongside the half-finished jigsaw puzzle “for tomorrow.” Some of Blue Moon Activewear’s most popular lines of tanks, pants, and pullovers include Beyond Yoga, Ion Actif, prAna, Pure Karma, Rese Pilates and Calvin Klein Performance. The boutique’s exclusive Falke line adjusts to movement and temperature as bodies bound, using European ergonomically designed technology to achieve maximum flexibility. Exercisers with an eye for color can try the Ion Actif workout jean pant in chocolate ($72) or the contrast pant in snake ($65).
Established in 1961 by master hand-engraver Richard Neustaedter, Neustaedter's Fine Jewelers glamorously frosts patrons with a dazzling cove of diamonds and pearls. Sterling hoop earrings oscillate gracefully from lobes ($188+), and mask- and tribal-themed African neckwear ($88+) connects clavicles to spirits of good fortune, prosperity, and future winning lottery numbers. Like Emerald City trapeze artists, green quartz pendants twirl rhythmically from rhodium-plated sterling-silver necklaces ($179+), and Signature Collection color stone rings ($465+) envelop fingers in a luxurious embrace.