Originating in 1952 under the name Mel Bay Music, City Music & Education Center continues its founder's pursuit of supplying students with musical instruments, education, and resources. Alongside band and orchestra instruments available for rent or purchase, the harmonious retailer stocks its shelves with sheet music, PA systems, and powdered wigs for burgeoning composers. The scent of coffee wafts through the air as baristas grind local beans behind the enclosed counter of Note Worthy Café, and trained repair technicians remedy damages to instruments without the abuse of harsh chemicals. Thirteen spacious lesson rooms accommodate students and experienced, music-degree-bearing instructors for private instrumental and voice lessons, and a jam room, recording studio, and recital hall shelter musicians in every step of the creative process. In addition to its year-round services, City Music & Education Center hosts a smattering of seasonal events, including barbecue fundraisers for local school bands, battle of the bands for teenage groups, and recycling drives for glam-rock-era spandex pants.
Since 1958, the clatter of pins has filled Crestwood Bowl, which was taken over in 1973 by Ray Bluth, one of the first PBA Hall of Fame inductees. Ray’s son, Mike, recalls fond memories of a childhood spent carousing amongst the lanes. In 1979, Mike started working at the alley, and continued to do so all throughout high school and college, before he became general manager. "Nothing much has changed," says Mike about the alley and the sport itself. The bowling alley still glistens pristinely, just as it did in the 1970s, with comfortable seating at each of the 24 lanes, which are set against a backdrop of planets and stars.
But that’s not to say that there haven’t been updates. Years ago, the alley's bumpers were inflatable, and would send balls ricocheting from side-to-side down the lane like runaway hedgehogs. Today, bumpers are built into each lane, and the AMF Advantage automatic scoring systems can be altered so that hitting eight pins equals a strike, thus bumping up kids’ scores. During Extreme Bowling on Friday and Saturday nights, the lights dim and a disco ball spins wildly in an attempt to escape down the lanes and hit a strike. Between frames, bowlers can refuel at the snack bar, chewing on chicken strips, pizza, 1/3-pound Angus beef burgers, and pork tenderloin.
Conceptualized by style shaman and seasoned mom Laura Maurice, Purple Cow offers gently used designer clothing at discounted prices to keep kids cute and parents’ pocketbooks plump. The boutique’s always-changing stock is interwoven with threads from popular brands such as Oilily, Gap, Mini Boden, Hannah Anderson, Gymboree, Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Baby LuLu, and more, as well as baby gear such as high chairs, pack-and-plays, strollers, and basic checkbook-balancing blocks. Keep your tater tot toasty all the way through autumn in two-piece outfits by Gymboree for $12.99–$16.99 ($40–$60 retail), one-piece rompers from Gap for $7.99 ($24.50 retail), and kids’ Northface jackets for $29 ($99 retail). All items are hand-selected by Purple Cow’s attentive team of garment and gadget gurus to ensure utmost quality and safety.
Baked Goods Pottery invites aspiring and amateur artists to decorate provided pottery with a variety of vibrant paints and tools in a fun, creative atmosphere. Once you've singled out your makeover recipient from Baked Goods’ inventory of more than 200 pieces, you'll get to unleash the wild colors and images of your mind and watch them play across its surface. Adorn a small cookie jar with the corridor fight scene from Oldboy, or decorate two plates with psychedelic colors and make your next dinner-party guests hallucinate that you're serving them a delicious feast. Along with these items, your Groupon’s value of $25 can also buy a picture frame and a bevy of other options.
The Tile Shop—as the name coyly suggests—specializes in tile for every imaginable surface and aesthetic style, making it easy for DIY handypeople to tackle small home projects, such as modernizing an avocado-green and penicillin-pink bathroom floor or re-grouting a small garden grotto. Underscore a kitchen with the appetizing orange of pirita siena ceramic tiles ($2.19 per square foot), then trim the counters in lizett beige ($3.99 each) for a complementary finish. Pick up a honeycomb pattern of hex matte black ($5.29 per square foot)—the quintessential backsplash for a gothy bumblebee—or add a touch of character to a small surface with a deep green verde butterfly mosaic ($11.99 per square foot). With its enormous selection of floor tiles, wall tiles, mosaics, and natural stone, the possibilities are as endless as a drive across Nebraska. The Tile Shop also has a plentiful selection of grout and tools for grouting it all together while grinning groutishly.
Clique offers sartorially savvy teens and newly minted 20-somethings an ever-expanding array of new and used top-designer and brand-name clothes for both guys and girls. Clique’s inventory grows daily, thanks to both loyal customers selling back their like-new clothes and the unpatented polyester fertilizer that causes outfits to sprout and flourish on the emporium's fertile clothes racks. Brands such as Coach, True Religion, Abercrombie, and Hollister form part of the much- sought-after apparel roster. With 500 to 600 new inventory items per day, trend-starved shoppers are guaranteed endless wearable fixes, and items such as True Religion jeans ($49), a Hollister tee ($6), or a North Face jacket ($32) invigorate intelligent wardrobes in need of new material to stimulate their growing minds. Clique also offers free private after-hours shopping parties for teens, with food and drink provided.