At Busy Scrappin’, more than a thousand papers, albums, decorations, and kits surround a comfy workroom filled with hobbyists hard at work. The one-stop scrapbooking emporium is dedicated to fostering a community of likeminded craftsfolk by helping visitors learn new ways to memorialize family outings, little-league triumphs, and scrapbooking-competition victories. Guests drop in to socialize during Friday-night cropping sessions or learn new techniques at weekly, fun-filled workshops. And during regular hours, friendly staffers shepherd patrons through the selection of holiday-themed embellishments, card-making supplies, and paper crafts—eagerly giving suggestions for any upcoming project.
Amid the lime-green and burnt-orange walls of Creation Station, an encouraging staff inspires visitors to follow their artistic impulses as they use pottery as their canvas. Seven days a week, experienced and casual artists alike can plunge their brushes into a rainbow of paints and let loose on a variety of mugs, figurines, and dishes. Once colorized to the artist’s content, finished bisque pieces visit a fiery kiln, where colors become more vibrant and snowmen melt into carrot-and-coal soup. Revelers can also gather at Creation Station to celebrate special occasions, such as birthdays, or make Christmas ornaments during the winter season.
Since 1964, Guitar Center has paired musicians with guitars, keyboards, drums, Pro Audio gear, and necessary accessories, including DJ and recording equipment to capture newly made melodies. An iPad music-stand adaptor ($39.99) connects an iPad to a music stand, allowing musicians to access online programs and music apps on-stage, or to publicly dedicate a song to their online Scrabble partner. A clip-on tuner ($29.99) keeps notes pitch-perfect, and Guitar Center’s array of sheet music produces a wider variety of sounds than singing from a thesaurus, with options that include the C-surfing The Real Blues Book ($31.49). Stitch tighter harmonies by threading notes onto Slinky guitar strings ($3.79), or use the value of today's Groupon toward a larger purchase, such as the Epiphone Les Paul Special II guitar ($169–$179.99). Guitar Center rounds out its collection of gear with Pro Audio and DJ equipment, keyboards, and drums, allowing every band member or solo cymbal player to stock up on their chosen form of expression.
Sunlight glints off the multihued dinner plates and stained glass lamps inside ArtGlass Unlimited, a local glassware emporium that’s made inimitable glass pieces since 1982. On top of these creations, the onsite artists build commissioned glasswork for local businesses and opera singers looking to gauge their high notes. They also helm classes in glass art, guiding students through creating their own masterpieces, from stained glass windows to pendants, beads, and kiln-fired jewelry.
With everything from movie posters to record cases lining the walls of its small shop, BackTrack Records oversees a trove of new and used vinyl LPs, CDs, and classic merchandise. Previously owned albums ($2–$15 on average) from artists such as Led Zeppelin, Tom Waits, and Nirvana recall familiar ditties and secret backwards messages about the importance of sharing. BackTrack's staff grades and prices used records and covers according to their condition, sorting them on the shelves next to selections of new, factory-sealed LPs ($13.95–$29.95). The vast, rotating inventory includes such miscellany as a Beatles limited edition of Trivial Pursuit ($29.99) and an official BackTrack Records T-shirt ($10) to wear as a team uniform during musical chairs.