Opening its doors in 1782, Elwood Adams Hardware honors its long hammer-peddling heritage by stocking general hardware, supplies, and hard-to-find tools. Shoppers can nab toolbox necessities such as a 100-piece screwdriver bit set ($16.99) or Nashua all-weather duct tape ($6.89), a must-have for hushing overly chatty androids. Knowledgeable staff of industry experts can help carpenters choose high-caliber lumber cutters, including a 12-inch high-tension hacksaw ($23.99), or cheerfully supply homeowners with a Weller 40-watt soldering iron ($20.99). Skip shopping bags by tossing purchases into a bucket wrapped with a LeatherCraft tools and parts caddy ($23.99), a handsome carryall that fits snugly over five-gallon buckets for easy toting or a romantic picnic in a construction pit.
Alexis Grace Consignment Boutique, named Worcester's best consignment store in 2010 by Worcester Mag, restocks wardrobes with gently used, brand-name apparel and accessories, including Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, and American Eagle. Housed inside a restored factory building, the ever-changing inventory includes an expansive vintage section that harbors items dating back to the 1920s. Slip into the cozy confines of various fall sweaters ($8–$10), or snag a splash of attitude with a leather jacket ($35), perfect for escaping unnoticed from violent sing-offs between rival gangs of sharks and jets. Meanwhile, designer purses (50%–75% off retail prices) from names such as Coach, Gucci, and Prada are also available. To further accessorize, shoppers can brandish vacant body branches in vintage jewelry, and quirky neckties ($4) inject workdays with playful imagery including mid-swing golfers and movie stars. A men's section is also available and Alexis Grace Consignment Boutique and they also carry a large selection of buttons and books.
The helpful staff at Armandos' all-purpose boutique has dedicated almost 30 years to the hawking of high-end men’s apparel, shoes, and accessories. Sharp shirts by Smash drape comfortably over taut torsos ($79–$99), and a wide selection of designer ties serve as elegantly patterned upper-body ornaments ($29–$49). Instead of carrying a puppy around the office, bosses aiming for the "approachable" look can assemble an outfit with a Steven Land dress shirt ($49–$59), a Stacey Adams ascot ($29), and jeans from Buffalo ($79–$99). Head and toe swaddlings include snappy hats from Bailey ($49–$69) and protective foot fortresses from Giorgio Brutini ($59–$89). Armandos also touts an epic selection of fragrant colognes ($39–$99), which can be used to impress the onsite tailor, who is always available to shape threads to body types of all stripes.
At Grime, racks abound with an eclectic cavalcade of styles, designs, and sizes, with new additions and local artist creations added on a weekly basis. Handpicked by owner Molly McGrath, the variegated inventory flanks both sides of the cozy store, allowing guests to hunt for one-of-a-kind treasures in all directions, much like riding a spinning teacup ride inside of a jewelry store. Vintage t-shirts ($5–$20) augment wardrobes with a dash of contemporary attitude, and jean jackets ($18) and rompers ($15–$18) drape shoulders and torsos in fashionable threads. Men can tout muscles, tattoos, and tattooed imitations of muscles with a variety of vests ($9), and ladies can accessorize with trendsetting selection of bags ($9–$16) and boots ($10+). Before revealing fresh duds to the outside world, guests can snap a royal photo next to a massive portrait of Elvis.
Rides shine and shimmer after leaving Premier Auto Styling, where customers can deck out their rides with custom installations and meticulous detail jobs. Well versed in car anatomy, the company’s technicians can integrate iPods, tint windows, and add parking-ticket shredders to all types of vehicles, including SUVs and trucks. Premier Auto Styling also specializes in state-of-the-art, built-in OEM navigation systems and security devices from Viper, Python, and Ultra Start.
With the opening of its first store in 1989, Eastern Boarder established a foothold in the then nascent extreme-sports category and has since ridden the explosion in popularity of skating, snowboarding, and BMX. Today, at each of its five stores, devotees of these now mainstream sports can find gear, accessories, and apparel by manufacturers such as Volcom, Neff, and Nike. In recognition of its staying power, Snowboarder magazine named Eastern Boarder the Coolest Shop in the Country in spite of several sabotage attempts on its thermostat. The shop also sponsors a pro snowboarding team that’s been acclaimed by the likes of ESPN Action Sports.