After years of working for others in corporate America, owner Karen Thompson enlisted the help of three other like-minded women to form the quartet of bead-savvy experts behind A Beadtiful Thing. With heaps of individual experience designing jewelry, staff help customers sort through the strands of beads that line the sunny shop's walls and wink in the light like an English teacher after an especially good pun. The ladies also angle visitors toward a large table in the store, where they can delve into their own projects or participate in classes in basic or more obscure techniques that incorporate leather or chainmaille in addition to shimmery baubles.
Between Gorilla Games' bright yellow walls, knowledgeable gamers stock shelves with new, used, and retro video games and accessories. They help customers choose discs and cartridges to take home or accept trade-ins of old games to feed to an ever-changing selection spanning all generations of Nintendo, Sega, Xbox, and PlayStation. Along with merchandise, the store holds a collection of pay-to-play classic arcade games and a game room breathlessly referred to as the Cage. Inside the Cage, paying visitors find 42-inch HDTVs, reclining padded chairs, and PS3, XBox 360, and Wii systems, upon which they can test their skills in any game found at the store. To aid beleaguered gamers, store staffers also resurface scratched discs, mend broken consoles, and reveal which castle the princess is in.
Put Me In The Story connects parents and kids during bedtime reading rituals with one-of-a-kind storybooks personalized with children's names and photos. After choosing a best-selling children's book as a template, customers submit their child's name and upload a photograph and special message for their boy or girl. Within two weeks, parents and grandparents can snuggle with babies and toddlers, flipping through books filled with the child's own name and picture.
In addition to promoting literacy and family bonding through its selection of kids' books, Put Me In the Story creates heartwarming gifts with customized photo books that celebrate the link between fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, and grandparents.
Tens of thousands of used CDs, DVDs, and video games stock the shelves at Disc Replay. Since 1994, the store has bought and sold the secondhand wares to customers in search of new titles or rare finds, as well as used electronics such as gaming systems, iPods, and portable phonographs. The shop backs their stock by guaranteeing that every item will work like new—if it doesn't, customers can exchange their purchase without hassle.
At The Talent Pros, a multitalented staff of veteran video producers, Grammy nominees, and visual artists combine their talents to offer a wide range of creative services. The team handles everything from audio recording to video editing and post-production as well as projects such as website design and online marketing campaigns. Staff members also share their knowledge with motivated up-and-comers through music workshops, which cover songwriting skills, industry knowhow, and how to operate recording gear and tin-cans-attached-by-a-string professionally.