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.
Inside the fully-automated facilities at Pepin's Auto Wash, machines lave vehicles 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With today's deal, customers can select either the touchless wash, which uses high-pressure jets of water to cleanse vehicles, or the soft-touch wash, which banishes dirt with polishing brushes. In either case, a soapy undercarriage wash launders caked-on mud from the car's hard-to-reach belly, and a heated or tepid presoak loosens the grip of gluey sap deposits and toy cars clinging to the exterior out of admiration. Spurts of triple-foam polish restore the automobile's youthful luster, evoking the car's memories of carefree joy-riding and playing hooky from driver's ed. Two rinses eliminate all evidence of lather, and a translucent smear of double-bond Teflon shields outer surfaces from sticky particles of dust and grime.
Every spring and summer since 1985, the green thumbs at Everlast Nursery have helped transform neighborhood lawns into verdant backyard escapes. A vast cornucopia of plants and colorful blooms awaits to fill home containers, window boxes, and hangers, including a selection of “proven winner” annuals favored my most home gardeners in a recent taste test. A healthy selection of trees and shrubs is also available to help fill bare spots in home landscapes, as is a full range of gardening supplies that help ensure plants thrive in their homes.
The staff at Smarty Pants Consignment Shop fills their boutique with gently used clothes to fit mothers-to-be and preemies through size-12 kids, as well as books, toys, and baby equipment. Maternity tops ($4–$10) and pants ($9–$14) easily accommodate expanding bellies, and infant and children's pajamas ($3–$6) keep little ones warm during nightly visits of dreams and tiny particles of silica. Novice and expert walkers lace up pairs of shoes and sneakers ($3–$10) as novice and expert readers leaf through a library of colorful books ($1–$5). Among the more than 200 items added to the stock each day, highchairs and swings ($19.99–$59.99) suspend babies in a stationary or metronomic manner.
Concrete Wave brings a slice of California style to the Northeast. For more than 20 years, the shop's primary focus has been skateboarding. In addition to stocking decks and boards from makers such as Alien Workshop, Zero, and Original Longboards, Concrete Wave sells skate shoes and clothes from Nike, DC, Vans, and Volcom, among others.
Despite the emphasis on skating—which extended to the opening of a partner skate park in 2008—the shop is also as passionate about powder as an enthusiastic makeup artist. Technicians in the board shop tune up snowboards in preparation for the winter snow season and also sell boards, boots, bindings, and apparel from brands such as Salomon, Vans, DC, and Dakine.