After passing through double doors located at the bottom quarter of a massive storefront record, patrons emerge into Record Archive's quirky shop whose red and yellow walls disappear behind shelves of used CDs, DVDs, vinyl, and cassettes. A 35-year veteran of the Rochester music scene, the shop judiciously buys and sells tunes and movies in most formats. In the shade of bikes dangling decoratively from the ceiling, clients can special order hard-to-find works to complete collections or destroy the traces of their brief solo jazz career. Despite the music specialty advertised by the store’s name and its eclectic calendar of in-house performances, Record Archive also takes a stance against mass-production with caches of vintage clothing, unique furniture, quirky toys, and incense.
Under the leadership of Valentin Skorsak, the tailoring team at Valentin's Clothiers & Custom Tailoring imbues each stitch and lapel of their custom wares with a combined 70 years of expertise. Using material supplied by high-end brands such as Sartoria Tosi and Gino Monti, Valentin and his colleagues tailor personalized men’s and women’s business suits, shirts, and ties in one-on-one sessions in the shop or at clients' homes and offices. Along with their tailoring services, the drapers at Valentin's Clothiers & Custom Tailoring alter any hem or length for clients who have outgrown their clothes or need room to smuggle extra watermelons into a business meeting.
Bisque & Brush gives amateur artists and the kiln-curious the opportunity to produce their own pieces of painted pottery. A wide array of paintless pieces ($8 and up) are available for guests to acquire and adorn, with no additional studio fees. Once you purchase your blank piece of pottery, you'll have free reign over the studio's brushes, stencils, sponges, and paints, with more than 100 colors available—one for each color in the eighth Venusian rainbow. Pottery pieces include plates, bowls, mugs, vases, cookie jars, and ornaments. Decorate a piggy bank with a smug, money-hoarding smile, or sketch the shape of your favorite 19th-century vice president on a ceramic cookie jar. Bisque & Brush keeps its studio space lively and sociable, with relaxing music playing amid the sparking sound of conversation from pottery painters.
Drawing on Hallmark's deep well of cards, inscribed with charming well wishes and humorous missives, Lisa's Hallmark's three shops assist customers with enveloped correspondences. Sorted by occasion, Lisa’s extensive selection of cards covers a wide range of expression, such as condolences for a loved one, congratulations for a graduate, and gratitude for a fellow bank robber. The shops also feature a range of gifts, including candles, picture frames, and plush animals, to sweeten the card-giving experience.
Joette's on Monroe adds glam to skin with a collection of jewelry and accessories embellished in pearls, rhinestones, and crystals. Rows of necklaces hover over miniature velvet décolletés, which flaunt earring and necklace sets. Sequins and bright colors pop from handbags resting on shelves, and silk gloves reach out to slyly steal patron's wallets.
Strawloo's 4,000-square-foot showroom pays homage to a bygone era with its antique furniture and vintage collectibles, and its in-house café—Mama Gilmore's Bistro—serves up hearty house-made fare to patrons before they browse the timeworn objects. Every day, chefs at the café simmer soups brimming with fresh ingredients ($2.75 for small) to pair with café sandwiches with rye or whole-grain foundations and spiral ham, turkey, or albacore tuna toppings ($4.75). Grilled kaiser rolls bookend quarter-pound Angus burgers ($4), and ciabatta-bread paninis and tomato or spinach wraps encapsulate fresh meats, cheeses, and fixings ($5.75). The on-site ice-cream shop with 24 flavors of Hershey's ice cream and 26 smoothie flavors serves treats sweeter than a chocolate-covered Girl Scout.