Working with artisans in developing countries who would otherwise be underemployed, Ten Thousand Villages supplies handicraft lovers with handcrafted jewelry, home décor, accessories, and gifts from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, while paying artisans fair wages for their products. Support marginalized women in Bangladesh with YWCA Craft Centre's bright and goosy Super Duck backpack (Bangladesh, $24), which allows school children to strut confidently into second grade and medical malpractice lawyers to swagger into the courtroom with a duck on their backs. Socially conscious crafters can take home a hand-stitched measuring-tape cat (Vietnam, $8) from Mai Vietnamese Handicrafts, and frugal fashionistas can sport dancing-girl earrings made from recycled soda cans by KICK Trading Ltd. (Kenya, $12) or a marbled bead choker from TARA Projects (India, $16).
After 95 years of business, Crown City Hardware has established itself as a beacon of high-quality hardware goods, offering more than 100,000 items and cultivating professional relationships with more than 600 suppliers. Perusing the general department preps homeowners for everyday household projects with Gorilla Glue Super Glue ($3.69), paintbrushes ($0.39+), and WD-40 ($7.79). Meanwhile, the builders' section at the store's back counter houses a host of popular reproductions and exclusive restoration hardware, including solid forged brass handrail brackets ($33.99), which offers stair-climbers support and stability, and Jeffersonian rain gauges ($189.99), which can measure the rainfall in backyards or the number of tears you’ve cried since Firefly was cancelled.
A collector of fine wares from around the world, Adobe has gifts and rare items you’d be hard-pressed to find outside of Ancient Persia, the Holy Roman Empire, or Middle Earth. Nab a ceramic serving platter by well-known Mexican craftsermerator Gorky Gonzalez ($45), a box of hand-rolled Perin-Mowen votive candles ($30), a bar of herbal Italian soap ($10), or velveteen, eco-amorous bamboo towels ($37).
At the family-owned A Star Furniture, furnishing experts stock a 10,000-square-foot warehouse with thousands of brand-new, modern items to complete bedroom, dining room, living room, and office décor. Crafted from quality fabrics and materials such as rubber wood and Malaysian oak, each item is carefully inspected upon arrival for structural integrity and concealed remote-control battery covers. In the showroom, sofa sleepers ($499+), room dividers ($69+), and futons ($199+) lounge on top of artful area rugs ($159+) bursting with modern and classic patterns.
Allen and Richard Wattenberg took over the reins at Ross Cutlery in 1964. By that time, the shop was already 34 years old and predominantly dealt with knife-sharpening services. While the brothers and their staff have continued the shop's legacy of fixing up dull knife blades and haircutting tools, they've steadily populated their shelves with professional-grade haircutting tools, sporting knives, collectible swords, and kitchen-cutlery sets from Henckels, Trident, and Forschner. Their 2,300-square-foot shop rests on the ground floor of the Bradbury Building, which is an architectural landmark and the proud father of a rambunctious little parking garage.