It's not unusual to walk into Robinson Music Inc. and hear the deep growl of a bassoon or the sweet notes of a violin. Fueled by a common love of chords, this music store invests itself in its customers with lessons in private studios and instrument rentals and repairs. Students can learn under the tutelage of professional musicians from the New England Conservatory of Music or the Berklee College of Music, who teach piano, guitar, and voice techniques or help subjects prepare for auditions in the shower showtunes industry. The music-minded staff can also replace strings, re-hair bows, re-tune pianos, and restore woodwinds.
When PYOP Studio, Inc founder Vaishali Patel learned she was pregnant, she seized the rare opportunity to put her pottery painting skills to a mischievous use. So she picked out a bisque platter, painted the words “You’re going to be a perfect daddy” on its surface, covered it with chocolates, and presented it to her husband while they were picnicking on a lake.
Now, the innovative potter strives to empower budding artists to create their own pottery keepsakes at PYOP Pottery. She provides customers with more than 200 bisque pieces and 50 vibrant paints to choose from, and even helps new parents assemble footprint artwork to preserve memories and prove the existence of feet to their future, segway-powered great-grandchildren. Though her studio encourages customer to explore their own creative potential, on-staff artists are happy to create custom pieces.
For more than 20 years, Master Hobbies has packed its shelves and display cases with a cache of hobby supplies ranging from R/C cars and planes to plastic model kits. Today, R/C helicopters and planes ($39.95+) hover over pint-size plastic ($12.95–$29.95) and die-cast ($19.95–$59.95) models of cars, military vehicles, and ships that ferry Lego men across bathtubs beset with hazardous ice cubes. Model rockets ($9.95–$29.95) count down to their assembly and launch, waiting to streak across the skies in the colors of individual paints ($1.59+) or full paint sets ($14.95). Always eager to cultivate new interests, the store's eclectic hobbyists guard an arsenal of airsoft guns ($29.95+) and paintball ammo ($14.95/bag) and can order any special items by tying a 1/10th-scale form to the leg of a carrier pigeon.
The Tinker's Cart fills homes with Irish gifts and special-occasion accessories sourced directly from the Emerald Isle. Official Irish dirt ($9.95) from the ground of County Tipperary helps local green thumbs nourish plants, grow shamrocks from official Irish shamrock seeds ($2.95), or cultivate the ball skills of a sprouting Boston Celtic. Irish license plates ($24.95) make roadsides appear greener, and popular Inis cologne spruces the auras of both men and women. While an Irish Claddagh wedding-cake topper ($23.95) celebrates true love, Red Socks and Patriots paraphernalia celebrates a birthright. The Irish gift store also offers caps and hats ($11.95+), jewelry such as pendants, rings, and bracelets, and hosts an in-house embroidery business where apparel can get custom stitches in Irish logos and designs.
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.
Amid display cases strewn with glittering jewelry, shelves filled with fashionable purses, and tables brimming with trendy accessories, Mundy's friendly staffers can be found greeting patrons and helping them find the perfect gift or home accent. First opened in 1947, Mundy's is currently housed in a new space, yet still upholds the original store?s dedication to outfitting shoppers with unique, quality goods. Under the helm of owner Lauren Raspallo Franklin, the sunny-hued shop remains stocked with an ever-changing assortment of wares from trusted brands such as Harveys seatbeltbags bags, Lenny & Eva charms, and Envirosax reusable bags. Staffers encourage visitors to casually browse through the shop?s wares, hunting through stationery racks to find a card or sniffing through Mundy?s fragrant candles for the one that smells the most like success.