Since its founding in 1980, Sun & Ski Sports has remained true to its philosophy: “do a few things, but do them better than anybody else.” The shop stocks equipment in five categories of extreme and outdoor activities, including camping, skating, running, bicycling, and water and snow sports. It specializes in these to ensure its merchandise maintains a high standard of quality, and its employees are knowledgeable participants in the sports their department represents.
Bikers can drop off their steeds for tune-ups from certified mechanics who put all brands through the rigors of a 12-point inspection, checking chains and adjusting wobbly pedals and malfunctioning spoke-card motors. While waiting, curious eyes might linger on a North Face two-person tent, a Blackburn Airtower bicycle pump, or a vast selection of shoes from brands such as New Balance and Asics. Men and women can traipse nearly barefoot in the park with Vibram FiveFingers, which offer minimal structural encumbrances for a more natural stride, or cast their feet aside for the new-wheeled prowess that comes with a Fuji SL-1 LE Ultegra performance road bike.
Joining the witness-protection program is the best way to disguise your identity, but the vast array of costumes at Halloween Express gives the program a run for its money. For more than two decades, the chain’s 300+ stores have supplied customers with costumes year-round from vampire capes for Halloween to Caesar togas for the Ides of March.
In preparation for the fall of 2012, they’ve added new items to their Halloween collection. These costumes range from fuzzy blue monsters to skeleton zombies and can transform groups of four into Raggedy Andy and three clones spawned from his DNA. The store’s party supplies add a spooky touch to festivities and include tombstones, rotting pumpkins, and giant hairy spiders.
77kids, a new children's clothing brand by American Eagle, swaddles newborns and youths up to size 14 in rock ‘n’ roll–inspired duds featuring stylish retro details. The pink Rock Sparkle hoodie ($39.50) adds an urban edge to the animal print of the Flowy ruffle-front dress ($34.50). The Rad to the Bone graphic tee ($16.50) launches playground debates about skeletal system ethics and complements a pair of Destroyed loose-fit jeans ($34.50). A baby bedecked in an All Good! footed one piece ($16.50) gets a head start on learning rock ‘n’ roll vocab such as "rad," "awesome," and "check check, one two, one two."
Stile, fresh from its opening in June, gives second chances to gently used high-end women's clothing, shoes, purses, and accessories. Accent jaw lines with a whimsically patterned Cynthia Rowley scarf ($12) or store notepads of elegant football formations in Coach purses ($20–$70). Scores of vintage jewelry, feather earrings, and rings ($4–$20) complement the vibrant fashions found in the store, which pop with patterns of bold colors and prints. Or notify neighbors of a recent shopping spree in Morse code with the clicking sound of BCBG heels ($14) or vintage boots ($10–$20).
In 1965, Popular Mechanics ran a small classified ad for Brookstone, a new catalog company that packed its pages with functional products and detail-oriented descriptions. Brookstone quickly expanded to meet the high demand for its collection of “hard-to-find tools,” and opened the door to its first retail location in 1973. Today, Brookstone’s more than 300 nationwide retail locations allow customers to test-drive its ever-growing lineup of interesting products, which range from Bluetooth-enabled massage chairs to power adapters designed for international travelers and their electronic passports. Staying true to its roots as a catalog company, Brookstone houses an even larger selection of products, each waiting patiently to be shipped, on its website.