Bead & Pearl's myriad jewelry-crafting classes illuminate the art of creating your own adornments as students learn a range of skills from basic stringing techniques to crocheting and wire stamping. The classes welcome even stone-cold beginners, and since classes are project based, instructors narrate every necessary step of the process as students create their pieces. This practice ensures that students don't have to come to class with prior knowledge from art camp or a past life as a ball of yarn that rejected a family career in kitten baiting to pursue its crafting dreams. Using the store's colorful inventory of beads, crystals, and gold and silver findings, classes give students the opportunity to create traditional bead jewelry as well as opulent rings and jewelry knitted from silk and leather. Customers can also purchase individual materials for at-home crafting or enlist the expertise of the staff to design jewelry or repair damaged pieces by heavyweights such as Chanel and Ralph Lauren.
Odessa Shoe Repair's skilled cobblers restore broken heels, worn-away soles, and other footwear maladies with quick turnaround times. Although shoe repair is their specialty, the jacks-of-all-trades don’t stop there. If a handbag is broken, they'll fix it. If a zipper needs replacing, they'll swap it out. If shoes need color, they'll dye them. If a key needs to be duplicated, they'll hop in a time machine and convince a scientist to clone it.
If nothing needs to be fixed or altered, customers can peruse Odessa’s shelves for name-brand shoes from high-quality brands such as Nine West, Birkenstock, and Clarks, as well as accessories such as shoetrees, shoe polishes, and laces. Customers can drop their pumps off at the store’s three locations, and Odessa also offers free pickup and delivery services.
Experienced framers Barry Stahl and Bob Clayton built Big Picture Framing from scratch in 2000, holding meetings around an old card table as construction roared around them. Today, framers at 15 area locations craft custom frames to display artwork, photographs, and record sleeves, and shadow boxes protect three-dimensional items such as ballet slippers, macaroni art, or a swarm of wasps. Patrons can dictate all design choices, choosing from metal and wooden frames in a multitude of colors and styles, or ask for recommendations from one of Big Picture Framing's resident experts. Big Picture Framing also stocks pre-framed art, prints, and posters to spruce up bare-walled homes or a drab doghouse.
The Urban Grape pushes the fermented philosophy that wine and beer drinkers should explore its vast variety of flavors without intimidation. The shop’s extensive lineup of red wines ranges from the dark-chocolate aromas of Charles Krug’s cabernet sauvignon from Napa Valley ($24) to the full-bodied O.Fournier tempranillo from Spain ($16). Have the ideal white wine for a gorgeous afternoon firing nukes at incoming asteroids with the Ken Forrester chenin blanc from Stellenbosch ($10), boasting subtle grapefruit and green-apple notes. Beer buffs may blissfully quiver while looking at The Urban Grape’s selection of brews, including a 22 oz. Brew Dog Punk IPA from San Diego ($7). The store offers a number of other libations as well, from organic and biodynamic wines to a stellar array of sake. Drop by for The Urban Grape’s scheduled complimentary wine tastings every Thursday and Friday from 5 p.m.–7 p.m. and every Saturday from 1 p.m.–3 p.m. to introduce taste buds to up to 16 different types of wine.
It all started with a deflated basketball. Though longtime friends Mike Kennedy and Eric Martin scoured downtown Boston for an inflating needle to fill it, no shops in the area carried one. They were frustrated—and they realized that other Bostonians looking for athletic gear were likely frustrated too. So in 1983, they opened City Sports, a shop stocked with all the footwear, athletic apparel, and sports equipment that the metropolis had been missing.
Nearly three decades later, Mike and Eric's neighborhood business has expanded to 20 shops across the East Coast. In addition to stocking popular brands such as Vibram, The North Face, and Patagonia, the store engineers its own CS by City Sports line. Shoppers include yogis, cyclists, and tennis players—anyone seeking to outfit active lifestyles, whether they're playing a team sport or braving the hike up the world's largest gumdrop. In addition to footwear and apparel, the staff stocks fitness equipment such as kettlebells, lifting gloves, and dumbbells.
Visitors to London often rave about the Notting Hill antique market that stretches across Portobello Road. There, collectors and Europe's fashion elite rummage for finds from all over the world. Inspired by the district's magic, style experts Kristina Hare Lyons and Marina Kalb dreamed up a way to bring a little Portobello Road to Boston.
Inside their intimate boutique, the fashionistas stock clothing, accessories, and home furnishings sourced from around the globe. Gifts and treasures from Italy, Brazil, Nepal, and, naturally, the United Kingdom line the shelves, bearing the names of designers such as Miguel Ases, Chan Luu, and Byron Lars. And, in the spirit of the namesake market, Lyons and Kalb make it their mission to seek out rare and one-of-a-kind items not sold elsewhere in the city.