Best of the City 2012

Photograph by Chris Smith

Recycled Sports Equipments

Play It Again Sports
Buying secondhand sports gear can be tricky. Nobody _really wants to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. But if your kid is going to outgrow his hockey pads in a few months anyway, why not get them used? And for a duffer on a budget, recycled golf balls can be a godsend. Play It Again Sports offers lightly used equipment, from tee balls to treadmills, for cheap. Imagine not having to break in your new mitt.
Multiple locations including 4329 Red Bank Rd., Madisonville, (513) 321-1711,

Custom Lamps

Palette Studios
If you can dream it, they can wire it. Palette Studios has been making and selling lamps and shades for over 90 years. And in her 12 years managing the shop, Sarah Humphrey has seen it all. “We recently did a huge fixture for a restored firehouse in Walnut Hills. The owner came to us with four-foot industrial wood wheel cogs and we wired them into a two-tier chandelier,” she says. Palette also offers a large selection of beautiful shades (made in the U.S.!) to top off your lamp.
2501 Woodburn Ave., Walnut Hills, (513) 961-1316,

Used Books

The Friends of the Public Library Warehouse
The Friends of the Public Library Warehouse is the answer for all who still prefer the tactile pleasure of holding a book but not the cost of adding it to your shelves. Open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, the warehouse holds 70,000 to 80,000 gently used books. Titles cover every genre you’ll find in a bookstore, and the average cost ranges from $2 to $3. The same friendly pricing applies to its selection of patron-donated CDs, DVDs, LPs, and VHS tapes.
8456 Vine St., Hartwell, (513) 369-6035,

Hanukkah Decor

Adath Israel Congregation Coleman Family Judaica Shop
The dreidel is Hanukkah’s gift to children and adults alike. The Coleman Family Judaica Shop at Adath Israel carries hundreds of dreidels year-round—many of which are works of art (no spinning!) set in ceramic, metal, wood, paper, and glass. The shop is known around the country for this extensive collection, but also carries menorahs created in a variety of materials, from humble aluminum to one-of-a-kind art glass. Don’t miss designer Michael Aram’s stunning Judaica collection.
3201 E. Galbraith Rd., (513) 792-5092,

Annuals and Roses

A.J. Rahn Greenhouse & Nursery
What started as a family produce business in 1890 began its transformation into premier greenhouse when Susan Rahn’s parents started growing flowers. In January, when big box greenhouses are dormant, seeds are being sown at A.J. Rahn Greenhouse & Nursery. Their fantastic roses are grown slowly in a cool location for vigor, so don’t feel constrained to the Knockout varieties if you’re a rose newbie. All you have to do is choose a favorite (good luck) and let Rahn’s experts guide you through its care.
4944 Gray Rd., Spring Grove Village, (513) 541-0672,

Shop Window

The Spotted Goose Co.
When your inventory is as naturally adorable as the kid apparel at The Spotted Goose Co., it would be a crying shame not to display it proudly in your front window. But this spunky-sweet Oakley boutique goes above and beyond the standard well-dressed mannequins, turning out remarkably creative and crafty seasonal displays with props such as pom-poms, furniture, and neon-painted tree trunks. It’s a perfect snapshot of the brazen cuteness that lies within.
3048 Madison Rd., Oakley, (513) 351-9600,

Resale Furniture

Legacies shuts out the public on Mondays, but they are not closed. “Monday is when our amazing team of volunteer designers and stagers create the most amazing order out of chaos,” says Anne Arenstein, the store’s volunteer engagement manager. Thus, Tuesday shoppers get first dibs on terrific furniture and home accessories. Legacies donates a portion of every sale to The Wellness Community, a cancer support organization—so you can feel doubly good about taking home that camel-back sofa or set of silver julep cups.
3854 Paxton Ave., Hyde Park, (513) 871-8899,

Pony Keg/Drive-Thru

The pony keg/drive-thru is perhaps the apex of the American Dream. One is able to drive up in an American automobile and obtain booze, cigarettes, candy, knickknacks, whatever may be available. At Trotta’s, one is also able to get piping hot, handmade pizza with a perfectly crisp crust, topped with prosciutto-like bacon and spicy sausage. Throw in a superb selection of craft beers (Dogfish Head, Sierra Nevada), and there’s no reason to go to another convenience store. Ever.
3501 Werk Rd., Westwood, (513) 451-5555,

On-Trend Dresses

Soho Boutique
Soho Boutique has great shoes (like these from Loeffler Randall) and coats (this one’s Milly), and more. But dresses—of all cuts and colors—are their thing. The narrow Hyde Park shop, owned by fashion junkie Amy Fessler, features a regularly updated mix of edgy, glitzy, and tailored styles from Erin Featherston, Alice and Olivia, Nanette Lepore, and Shoshanna (like this one)—all in of-the-moment silhouettes.
2757 Observatory Ave., Hyde Park, (513) 321-6930,

Bird Food

Newtown Feed and Supply
More than mere birdseed, the food Newtown Feed and Supply sells is like granola for your birds. Zoie Chase is a high-fat, hearty winter bird diet chock full of raisins and pumpkin seeds; the woodpecker mix is full of almonds, peanuts, and cashews. They also carry Droll Yankee squirrel-deterring feeders (the Dipper, Whipper, Tipper, and Flipper models are available) so you can discourage furry tailed food raids.
6876 Main St., Newtown, (513) 271-3446,

Pawn Shop

Facet Pawn
Pawn shops can be depressing. People need cash, sell off their belongings to get it, and the store puts those broken dreams on display. Facet Pawn changes that. The Milford store (they have another in Amelia) is a $2.5 million showroom that feels like an all-in-one mall with guitars, keyboards, trumpets, jewelry, TVs, Xboxes, cameras, and of course, guns. But more than the fancy display room, it’s the extra services—on-site guitar and jewelry repair—that set them apart.
505 Chamber Dr., Milford, (513) 753-3121,

Men’s Casual Wear

Knickers XY
Ben Sherman, French Connection, Levi’s Made & Crafted…gentlemen, check your labels. Knickers XY—the male sib of chic lingerie shop Knickers on Hyde Park Square—stands ready to fill all your fashionisto needs. Plus there’s a vault full of grooming products, hairstylist Salon Rhonda, and—upstairs—skivvies and swim trunks. They even carry 2(x)ist underwear—kinda like Spanx. Hasta la vista, love handles!
2717 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, (513) 257-0256,

Mother-of-the-Bride Gowns

Your kid’s getting hitched, and just about the last thing you have time for is wandering from store to store putting together your MOB (or MOG) glad rags. Save yourself the schlep at Nordstrom. The store’s range of styles and prices covers the spread, the savvy sales associates are generally happy to trot around locating the right accessories, and the terrific shoe department stands ready to finish off the ensemble. One and done.
7801 Montgomery Rd., Kenwood Towne Centre, (513) 699-4190,

Pet Store

You know a pet store is cool when it’s named after the dog in Homer’s Odyssey. Argos, a spinoff of Findlay Market’s Pet Wants, caters mostly to canines and felines. There’s fresh, all-natural pet food, toys, and accessories (many of these items are locally made), and free deliveries. The icing on the cake? Adoptable pets are always on hand, too.
7713 Camargo Rd., Madeira, (513) 561-7966,

Snow/Ski Supplies

Sun & Ski Sports
What with global warming and all, it gets harder and harder to be a skier in southwest Ohio. But at least Sun & Ski Sports is ready to fill your needs until the polar ice cap melts. From Hot Chillys long johns to snowboards, skis, and boots, the store offerings are broad and deep. Plus they sell the Epic Pass—Colorado ski resort passes that include discounts on goods at the Cincinnati shop.
7565 Kenwood Rd., Kenwood, (513) 745-0099,

Spare Parts

Cincinnati Appliance Parts
You never think about how many thing-a-ma-jigs are in your dishwasher or washing machine until one of them cracks or gets gnawed on by a toddler. When the inevitable happens, Cincinnati Appliance Parts has you covered. They carry all the replacement parts you need for just about any brand appliance. Just get them installed before your little one teethes again.
2319 Gilbert Ave. (Formerly Pearsol’s), Walnut Hills, (513) 221-1195; 11273 Grooms Rd., Blue Ash, (513) 489-1980; 7133 Turfway Rd., Florence, (859) 282-7100,


House of Adam
House of Adam understands that men sometimes require non-black suspenders—and Adam has them in spades: fuchsia, gold, and silver sparkles, plus royal blue, silver gray, black, white, and green. If you want it, they’ve got it. And that includes classic black.
622 Vine St., downtown, (513) 241-0542


Half-price Fireworks
Aerial Spinners! Trick Topper Choppers! Space Devils! Half-price Fireworks has them and a whole lot more. Demo nights on Saturdays in May show off the inventory at this seasonal business, which is open all summer and on special occasions, including the weeks before New Year’s Eve. Go ahead, send 2012 out with a bang.
2533 Harrison-Brookville Rd., West Harrison, Indiana, (812) 637-0755,

Repurposed Building Materials

Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore
Looking to recycle while you remodel? Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore will get you started. The Bond Hill location (also in Cheviot and Hamilton) is clean, bright, and well-organized, with plenty of flooring, light fixtures, ductwork, appliances, cabinets, furniture, fastners, doodads, geegaws, and more. Lovers of pink bathrooms, head for the aisle of tile: replacement pieces—and quite possibly a pink toilet or two—are here! They’re also happy to accept your donations, should you wish to remove that pink bathroom rather than refurbish it.
4910 Para Dr., Bond Hill, (513) 721-4483; 3970 North Bend Rd., Cheviot, (513) 721-4483; 896 Fairview Ave., Hamilton, (513) 893-1102;


Engel’s Hardware & Lumber
One fall weekend, one large to-do list: re-mulch the yard, pick up a radial sander, buy the boards to repair the back porch steps, stock up on dog chew toys. The one store that has all of those things? Engel’s. It is a little cramped, but whatever the need—new gutters, a paintball gun, garden seeds, a new water heater—Engel’s will help you find exactly what you’re looking for. And they’ll probably load up your car for you, too.
7246 Harrison Ave., Colerain Twp., (513) 353-1711,

High/Low: Jewelry

High: Serious Bling
Cincinnatians have been visiting Richter & Phillips since 1896 for their fine jewelry needs. Not only does the family-owned Sixth Street jeweler offer up wedding rings, diamond earrings, and fine watches, they also feature an amazing selection of both estate jewelry and unique modern pieces.
202 E. Sixth St., downtown, (513) 241-3510,

Low: Fun and Faux
Ute’s Downtown Girl in Montgomery is the best place to accessorize when money is an object. Loyal clientele shop here for unique rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, both casual and more formal. Store owner Ute even makes some of the pieces herself.
7789 Cooper Rd., Montgomery, (513) 984-8837,

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