At The Last Word, wheat-hued shelves lead in all directions, weighed down with an enormous selection of gently used books, as well as a collection of DVDs, and gaming consoles. Authors such as Cormac McCarthy and Ralph Ellison peer from racks of employee selections beneath the vinyl records that adorn the walls, and glass cases packed with trading cards glint in the sunlight. Strict quality standards govern the state of all the items. Most are 50-80% off their normal retail price despite being in good condition, and the staff makes a conscious effort to purchase a variety of quality media rather than pamphlets entitled Thee Faxe Machine is an Entirely Infuriating Devil. The shop is peppered with floral armchairs, in which patrons curl up, sip coffee, and browse book recommendations with their laptops on free WiFi.
Dish It Out exists as an outlet for crafty crafters to conceive elegant pottery, glass, and jewelry pieces without having to transform their tidy homes into Chianti-spattered art studios. Potential projects include pottery painting (pieces range from $1.50–$50), where spectrum-wielders can colorfully adorn a plate, figurine, or makeshift spittoon to their aesthetic preference. Afterward, Dish It Out will glaze and fire the piece, which the eager artiste can pick up within a week. Create alluring necklaces at Dish It Out's bead bar (pricing varies per bead), a stunning stockpile of sterling silver, Swarovski crystals, and real gemstones. Budding Bogeys and Bacalls can immortalize their handprints in a clay slab (starting at one hand for $25), and history buffs can use glass fusion ($16–$60) to fashion a plate commemorating George Washington's famous crossing of the Ganges.
Bucketts’s spirited mélange of home goods outfits customers with hip clothing and festive jewelry, and ornaments their abodes with decorative furniture worthy of Charlotte magazine’s 2010 Best Traditional Home Store award. Cover up bedroom booby traps with an assortment of rugs ($30¬–$95), or adorn a recreational submarine with a select piece of colorful handmade pottery ($28–$125). An assortment of dresses ($38–$125), earrings ($16+), and necklaces ($85+) keeps torsos in vogue for upcoming weddings, dinner parties, or T-ball award ceremonies.
Jewelology puts beauty into the hands of the beholder, leading to a sense of accomplishment rivaling that of a financially successful mime. Jewelry parties require four participants or more, and each Groupon entitles one partygoer to $15 worth of jewelry-making materials such as natural gemstones, Swarovski crystals, Czech cut-glass beads, sterling silver, and freshwater pearls (it is not required that all partygoers have a Groupon in order to attend). Or, if you don't want your firefighting buddies know you're a jewelryholic, reserve a spot in any class offered except the lampwork class and the hammered-silver class. Learn techniques such as wire ring wrapping, chain-and-stone necklace making, or chandelier-earring construction ($15 worth of class-specific materials will be provided).
If you paint your own pottery, there is no studio fee, and the price of the pottery includes all supplies and firing. Costs vary depending on the chosen 3D canvas. Kids’ pieces are $10–$25, dinnerware is $15–$60, and picture frames $22–$35; the average price of all pieces falls in the $15–$30 range. If you are distracted by a Night Court marathon and don't finish your masterpiece in one sitting, you can come in another day to finish for free (after that, it's $5 per visit). Upon completion, turn your project over to the pottery masters at the studio. They'll put the finishing flames on your project, which will be available for pick-up after about a week. This Groupon is also good for those who want to give glass fusing a whirl. First timers can take the glass class to learn the basics (schedule here), then put newfound skills to work building personalized frames, bowls, jewelry, and more. The typical glass project costs $15–$40.
An independent establishment packing in more than 30,000 cinematic titles, VisArt Video boasts a brigade of movie magic on DVD, Blu-ray, and VHS as well as a spread of motion-picture memorabilia. The more-than-5,000-square-foot compound houses flicker films from traditional mainstream titles to genres including horror, cult, documentary, and foreign pictures. Snatch a few rental films (up to $4.25) for a cozy in-home viewing or snag a selection of sale films (all less than $10) to impress your bookshelves. The friendly staff can recommend personality-fitting pictures based on an optional five-paragraph essay, or walk you through VisArt's shelves of T-shirts ($16.99–$22.99), movie posters ($6.99–$9.99), action figures ($5.95+), and framed movie artwork ($19.99–$29.99). The pleasant crew also welcomes video-rental requests and special orders for new and obscure films including Disney's never-released cartoon remake of Boondock Saints. A regular membership (free) is required for video rentals, and members of the VisArt Film Club ($10 sign-up fee) receive every sixth rental for free.