On the shelves and display racks at Tala's, handbags from Brazil stand a few feet from mandala earrings and ornate hookahs. Around the shop, curated selections of handmade products stand ready to be inspected and taken home. Tala's also follows fair-trade practices, aiming to benefit the far-flung makers of its clothing and accessories.
As the owners of Love Letters, sisters Molly, Abbey, Carlie, Jessica, and their mom Gayle combine colorful, monogrammed gifts and accessories with a touch of southern style. Nifty needlework is included in each price, dancing across fetching baskets and blankets to add a personal touch and an easy way to identify humor. Donning many colors and prints, the Market Tote ($35) ably carts cargo such as groceries, beach supplies, and smaller totes filled with still smaller totes. Food-fight instigators confidently clutch Scout bags and bins ($28–$32), whose recycled materials wipe clean with ease. Quilted Stephen Joseph backpacks ($28–$35), carefully crafted for young scholars and toy-toters, safely support kid-sized copies of War and Peace. An array of fort-building fodder is also available, such as Aden + Anais blankets ($18–$50), whose organic muslin base keeps tots warm while monograms help parents remember which fruit they chose to name their children after. Grown-ups delight in the Occasionally Made portable bar ($38–$40), adding a touch of charm to mall parking-lot tailgates.
Wing Eyecare's peeper specialists outfit customers' fashion-conscious focusers with hundreds of plastic, metal, and rimless designer frames ($189+). Customers can peruse the vast array of optical enhancers by designers such as Kenneth Cole, Lacoste, and Prada before inquiring about single-vision lenses ($203) and x-ray upgrades. Sunglasses by Oakley, Vera Bradley, and Tommy Bahama, among others, defend sensitive baby blues by obstructing bright sun sparklies. All of Wing Eyecare's sunglasses options provide customers with 100% UVA and UVB protection to keep delicate eyes safe from the aggression of the sun's ultra-violent rays.
A kaleidoscope of designer fabrics in a variety of colors, patterns, and textures exists just behind Swatches' unassuming brick storefront. For more than 35 years, this locally owned and operated business has assembled a massive collection of fabrics and accessories from workrooms based in Cincinnati and around the United States. Within the showroom’s expansive interior, trims and tassels sway alongside more than 1,000 bolts of fabric from designers such as Duralee, Kravet, and Fabricut. Meanwhile, the staff of seasoned home decorators stands by to assist customers, offering them counsel on appropriate design schemes or directing them toward textiles that can withstand messes made by kids, pets, and roommates who work as part-time finger-painters.
Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.
Kramer's Sew & Vac specializes in sewing machines and vacuum cleaners, and it's been vending these wares since 1947. Bring in a faulty machine for a quick fix, or peruse a selection of new sewing machines from Bernina and vacuums from Miele. Kramer's also meets the needs of the sewing community with regular classes, which teach quilting and embroidery skills via traditional methods and on the computer.