Since 1989, Play It Again Sports has been keeping sports green, recycling gently used athletic equipment into new-to-you gear. Products from brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Wilson make up each store's enormous selection of new and recycled gear, which is replenished daily with goods for a wide selection of sports that ranges from baseball and football to snowboarding, skis, and ice skates. Treadmills and exercise bikes equip bodies with muscular suits of armor, and pintsize and adolescent equipment arms youngsters with protective padding until they eat enough bologna to grow muscles of their own. Knowledgeable staffers man each location, ready to answer questions, arrange gear deliveries or pick-ups, and even sharpen skates or wax snowboards. To ensure their stock remains robust, they also encourage athletes to collect their lightly used gear—including bicycles—and bring it into a local store to either sell or trade.
For Books Inc., it's been a long road, and if you trace the lines back to its origins, it's California's oldest bookstore. After striking gold?literally?back in 1851, Anton Roman set up shop as a bookseller. Although the shop moved, was sold, burned down, changed hands again, and was rebuilt, the spirit remained intact, and today, multiple locations of the indie bookstore have sprouted up across The Golden State. Staff members keep the shelves lined with classic and contemporary tomes in all genres, and a myriad of book clubs help keep the love of literature alive. They also run a vibrant event program featuring author events and readings where patrons can enjoy an experience they can't download.
Inside, Fire Works Ceramics’ studio looks more like a cozy cottage than a storefront, its shelves of blank ceramics and hardwood tables awash in sunlight as they wait to be painted at handsome kitchen tables. Visiting artists take their pick of blank mugs, dishes, vases, and figurines, all poured in-house rather than sourced from archaeologists’ garage sales. After decking out their chosen piece in as many colors as they like, guests surrender them to staff to receive a coating of glaze and a trip into the kiln. In addition to walk-in sessions, the studio can also host birthdays, bridal showers, and butterfingers’ support groups.
BookBuyers' mountain of contemporary and vintage media packs the shelves with more than 300,000 used media items, from books and magazines to software and games, and even DVDs and a few space-age laser discs. Its stock includes trade editions in hardback ($9+) and softcover ($5+), pocket paperbacks ($2–$5), a battery of CDs and DVDs ($4+), audio books ($15+), and a small cache of collectibles, rare volumes, and leatherbound tomes ($30+). Deeply discounted items are scattered throughout the myriad selections, turning browsing for imagination stimulation into a hunt for buried dimensional-shifting, mind-expanding treasure.
The boutique collects garments from some of the biggest names in small-scale wearables, including Big Buddha, Eco Ganik, Honey Punch, Mixie, Stacia, and Yag. Slip into Feral Childe's Snappy Dufferin dress ($147), a Corey Lynn Calter horse cardigan ($84), or a Maj violet twist top ($75). For clothes that fit, but are slightly off, alternations are performed free of charge. Give a home something to wear as well by nabbing candles ($9–$30), cutesy wall décor ($19–$30), or tablewear ($12–$30) to dress it up for its big night at home.
Savvy Cellar uses two criteria when choosing its wines. Each has earned 90 or higher from top critics such as Wine Spectator, and all are priced below $40. As much a community space as a bar, Savvy Cellar hosts tastings every Sunday and classes that spotlight a specific region or type of wine.