At Sports Integrity, the memorabilia might come from the NFL, the NBA, or the NHL, but authenticity is the name of the game. The autographed collectibles in the store meet rigorous standards so that customers know they're the real deal: they arrive with a tamper-proof hologram, a certificate of authenticity, and the guarantee that someone on the Sports Integrity staff witnessed the signing. These assurances apply to every item in the catalogue, from basketballs signed by Kobe Bryant to hockey masks signed by Jason Voorhees.
In almost 30 malls sprinkled across four states, Beauty Plus Salon beckons prospective makeover recipients with a fleet of skilled stylists and a colossal selection of professional beauty products. "The beauty industry never slows down," staffers say on Facebook, so "neither do we." That's why mall-goers find Beauty Salon open seven days a week. Between the retail shelves that average 500 nail polish colors, clients get gussied with services that pamper hair, skin, and nails.
Westbrook Family Bowling Center allows guests to bowl whenever the mood strikes, whether it is 4 p.m. or 4 a.m. Laser-light shows illuminate the alley during cosmic-bowling events, and pizzas refuel kids during birthday parties, which feature lanes lined with bumpers, if desired. Adults can chill out until 2 a.m. in the Joe 300 Lounge, which is filled with pool tables, dart boards, and televisions.
With more than 386 locations dotting North America, JCPenney Optical's ubiquity is matched only by its extensive selection of contact lenses and designer frames that includes brands such as Armani Exchange, Liz Claiborne, and Nicole Miller. Despite this wide reach, all lenses are cut at the same optical laboratory, ensuring a consistency of quality and a pretty good idea of where to look if your glasses run away from home. Each location has an independent state-licensed doctor of optometry, who can perform vision exams and help clients determine which type of vision correction will work best.
Woolplay offers more than 100 kinds of yarn and easy-to-follow classes for fiber fanatics of all abilities. Classes last around 1.5 hours, and use time far more wisely than 90-minute horror-musicals about action figures. Take a three-class series, such as Learn to Knit, which instructs beginners on casting on, purling, and knitting. Learn to Knit in the Round, a two-class series, spotlights circular and double-pointed needles, which students employ on a hat-making journey. Single-session classes maintain a pointed focus, like a surgical laser or hoop-jumping dolphin. Easy Lace introduces students to a simple lace pattern, which could eventually find its home in a cozy scarf. Fixing Your Mistakes reveals how to correct for human error, a less burdensome task than repairing sloppy mittens knit by parakeets. Some classes require a $10 to $30 materials fee; check the schedule for more details.
Ludovico's proprietor Don Sozio and his two children and granddaughters whip up a menu of Italian sandwiches, pizzas, and homemade entrees using ingredients imported directed from Italy. Hot sandwiches, including the chicken parmigiana sandwich ($7.45) and grilled veggie panini ($7.35), crammed with fresh eggplant, roasted pepper, and broccoli rabe, are best bets for diners looking for a bite of home-cooked goodness or bait for a mozzarella monster trap. Original recipes revive classic comestibles, such as the stuffed portobello mushrooms ($8.99/lb.), grilled with crabmeat and spinach stuffing and capped with a hip new shredded-cheese wig. Snack-sized twice-baked potatoes ($6.99/lb.) compete for diners' affections with mouthfuls of gelato, desserts, and freshly brewed lattes and cappuccino.