Each week, owner Kay Manley brings in boxes of used books, audiobooks, CDs, vinyl records, DVDs, and bottles of Thomas Pynchon's New Book Smell cologne to add to the store's eclectic assemblage of more than 20,000 items. The two-floor store also stocks handcrafted jewelry, beaded bookmarks, and other trinkets from local crafters, and its walls serve as a gallery for the artwork of local artists. In the sunroom, patrons gather for author readings, writing classes, craft workshops, and free WiFi. In between browsing, reading, or writing sessions, patrons can grab complimentary cups of coffee and tea at the coffee bar, which sometimes stocks treats from local bakers.:
At Mr. K’s Used Books, Music, and More’s five locations, funny money is the currency of choice. In exchange for bringing in good-quality books, CDs, and DVDs, customers receive store-issued dollars that they can use toward the purchase of other items. Some in-demand items, such as school textbooks, modern literature, video games, or sports almanacs from the future, may warrant a cash exchange instead. The shop’s friendly staffers, meanwhile, remain at the ready to help customers locate an item amid the many shelves, organized by genre and number of vowels in the title.
Thousands of sheep have Friends & Fiberworks to thank for their cool, breezy summers. The shop's 4,000-square-foot show room is packed with the dyed, spun remnants of their winter coats, inspiring shoppers to fashion art for the home and body. Wooden display panels show off sample projects above shelves stuffed with skeins of all kinds, including yarns spun by local fiber artists such as Rowan and Debbie Bliss. Amid the rainbow of pillowy packages, cushy armchairs await practicing knitters and spiders-in-training.
More than just a supply shop, Friends & Fiberworks cultivates its own flock of knitters and craftspeople through ongoing classes and twice-yearly retreats. The talented instructors delve into everything from weaving on a loom to spinning wool into yarn and straw into gold, eliminating the need to wager firstborn children away to nameless imps.
Certified professional photographer Gene Taylor has fine-tuned his artistic vision while working in photojournalism and portrait photography for more than 30 years. During classes at Your Photo Safari, Gene introduces students to the photographic arts and the workings of DSLR cameras. Sessions begin in classroom settings, allowing students to get acquainted with camera basics as well as advanced features such as setting white balance and reducing blur. After learning how to navigate the multiple settings and buttons on their digital cameras, students traipse to area gardens to explore the natural world through their lenses. The hands-on experience allows students to take home artfully composed shots of plants bathed in natural light or trees planking over riverbanks in a bid for Internet fame.
Handcrafted by its nimble-fingered staff, Beadles’ voluminous selection of handmade jewelry began to burst the seams of the 1,500-square-foot Chelmsford store, prompting the launch of the newly minted Rockport location. The new location broadens Beadles’ epic spread of Swarovski crystals, acrylics, and kaleidoscopic glass, allowing browsers to purchase bauble ingredients by the piece or pre-assembled bracelets and necklaces. Crafters of all skill sets can put their purchases to use during free workshops or fashion their own custom creations during parties ideal for birthday girls, girl-scout troops, and newly chosen presidential nominees.
Brimming with works from up-and-coming artists across South Carolina, Southern Galleries treats aesthetes to an exclusive selection of paintings and custom frames. The gallery is overseen by an experienced team of curators and artists in residence, who also use the studio for fun, informative painting classes for adults and children. Located across from the clock tower in historical downtown Simpsonville, the gallery fosters a creative environment with ceiling-high bay windows, rustic exposed brick walls, and a catcher-free environment where dreams can roam unhindered.:m]]