Kembrel was founded by three University of Pennsylvania students who dreamed of blending clothes from up-and-coming designers with well-known brands at prices college students wouldn’t need a Pell Grant to afford. The founders foster a passion for the unique pieces of independent designers as well as the familiar classics of big brands, so they crafted a boutique that stands as an intersection of shopping local and national and online and in-store. Like a 5-year-old’s chosen career path, Kembrel’s weekly designer overview change every week to highlight unique designers and apparel at discounts of up to 70% from brands such as Fossil, Trovata, and La Mer.
WHIRL MAGAZINE brings the best of the area to its readers, with monthly issues exploring the Steel City's people, places, and events. A subscription to the magazine unlocks a 12-issue lair of delicious dining, fitness tips, style secrets, and event listings, all within pogo-sticking distance of Pittsburgh residents. The June issue of WHIRL MAGAZINE, for instance, featured World Environment Day 2010, artist Burton Morris, and a guy-centric guide to Father's Day gifts. Members of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the local ragtag pigskin squad who are frequently found squaring off against roustabouts at Heinz Field on autumnal Sunday afternoons, often make appearances in the magazine, as do other Pittsburgh notables in athletics, the arts, and politics.
Those visiting Drop Me A Line Costume Shop for the first time might scratch their heads at the name. When the current owners purchased the shop back in 1987, it was a primarily a stationery store with a humble selection of costumes thrown in. Halloween enthusiasts at heart, the husband-and-wife team gradually changed the business's focus, expanding the shop's square footage to match the growing costume stock. Eventually, the selection grew so large they had to acquire the building next door and build a permanent passageway and after-hours zipline to connect the two halves of the 4,000-square-foot space.
Today, the staff can be heard dropping the store’s phrase “yeah, we got it” as they pull superhero costumes, period pieces, Disney disguises, and monster outfits from the 10,000+ stock of rentals, lease, and for-sale costumes. Along with a range of Halloween ideas for kids, teens, adults, and plus sizes, Drop Me A Line also provides getups for other holidays, such as Santa costumes for Christmas and Uncle Sam outfits for Christmas in July. To complement each costume, the year-round store packs its shelves with more than 5,000 accessories and hundreds of high-quality synthetic wigs to suit all price ranges. The staff can even provide tips on how to flawlessly attach fake beards and foam prosthetic noses as guests peruse the shop's collection of theatrical and special effects makeup from Cinema Secrets, Mehron, Ben Nye, and Kryolan.
At Bowl-O-Rama, the old-school sport finds favor with every age group. For kids, bumper lanes and leagues elevate sportsmanship to the same level of importance as hand-eye coordination. For teens, Saturday-night Rock-N-Bowl combines the thumping beats and lights of a club with a wholesome evening of strikes and spares. And for adults, regular open-bowl hours or leagues offer the beloved pastime whenever the alley is open.
Jennifer Mann has always had a keen eye for fashion. Pulling from her industry experience—which includes a role as senior advertising executive at Lehigh Valley Style magazine—Jennifer opened Shuze, packing its shelves with stylish accessories from both uncommon and renowned designers. Inside, colorful displays of shoes from San Miguel, Nicole, and Frye line up along tables amid racks of Tolani scarves and Silver jeans. Meanwhile, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings from local artists glimmer beneath the boutique's soft lamps. Patrons can plop down on colorful, cushy couches, trying on Hunter wellies, resting their legs, or checking beneath the cushions to see if the couches have babies.
Play N Trade, an independently owned gaming boutique, houses a colossal, constantly-changing stockpile of video games and accessories, including new and used titles for Nintendo, PlayStation, Xbox, and other platforms. Play N Trade's prophetic gaming genies verify the functionality of each game and accessory in their inventory and provide every opposable-thumbed patron with a "try before you buy" option, a business model first adopted and quickly abandoned by the lollipop industry. A diverse lineup of new ($19.99–$59.99) and used ($9.99–$49.99) games—organized by genres such as racing, shooter, music, and strategy—caters to the most techno-savvy of bodies. Peruse a plethora of accessories priced around $30, such as controllers or a wireless headset through which to taunt rivals with an epic Shakespearean soliloquy. Included with today's Groupon is a one-year membership to the Insider's Club, which grants its distinguished legionnaires 10 percent off used games, 10 percent off used accessories, and 10 percent more on trades.