Trim Work: Fisher-Griffin Co. Auto Upholstering
1130 William Howard Taft Rd., Walnut Hills, (513) 961-2110
When horse-drawn buggies traversed these Seven Hills, Gus Fisher, grandfather of current co-owner Whitney “Whit” Fisher, started the Fisher-Griffin Co. Today, the artistry of the 10 to 12 technicians doing trim work (the repair and replacement of convertible tops and upholstery) is evident in the range of cars in the lot on any given day: a BMW Z4 M Roadster next to a 1956 Corvette next to a Chrysler Sebring or a vintage Chevrolet. Whit says his shop—America’s fourth oldest—doesn’t have an “average customer” and fixes convertible tops “from Rolls Royces on down to Volkswagens.”
Dog Groomer: Paw’s Palace
7339 Montgomery Rd., Silverton, (513) 791-7297
Beth Ferrarelli, owner of Paw’s Palace in Silverton, believes every dog deserves its spa day. A typical three- to four-hour visit consists of a bath (there’s a choice of oatmeal, eucalyptus, or perfumed shampoos), blow dry, cut, comb, fluff, toenail clipping, and lots of TLC. Plus there’s a drying room for canines that freak at the sound of the hair dryer. Prices vary with the services and size of the dog, but everybody gets to fraternize with Josie, the resident poodle, whose perfectly coiffed body is a walking ad for Ferrarelli’s talents.
Specialty Rug Cleaner: The Gfroerer Co.
2219 W. Clifton Ave., University Heights, (513) 241-4209
Your precious Oriental has a red wine stain. What to do? Call The Gfroerer Co., a family owned business that has been cleaning and repairing Cincinnati’s imported rugs and carpets for 117 years. How have six generations of Gfroerers (sounds like frayers) kept the business going? By blending cutting-edge technology with labor-intensive methods, such as cleaning fringe and sewing tears by hand. That’s a work ethic fit for any century.
Tool Rental: Schulhoff Equipment Rental
2709 Woodburn Ave., Walnut Hills, (513) 961-1122
The garden center has just dumped a truckload of mulch in the driveway, and now it’s up to you to spread it. Schulhoff Equipment Rental can fix you up with a Bobcat mini track loader and make sure that you know how to operate it before they turn over the keys. But that’s not all: Schulhoff can supply the equipment—from hand tools to an 11,000-pound excavator—for any indoor or outdoor project you’re brave enough to tackle. They even have a hardwood floor to practice on if you’re up for sanding your own.
Movers: Tom Carlton Movers
243 W. McMicken, Over-the-Rhine, (513) 579-0007
They’re on time, organized, über-careful with everything they touch, and respectful of their clients and each other. All characteristics that explain why Tom Carlton Movers has been transporting Greater Cincinnatians’ possessions for 44 years and have moved the majority of their customers more than once. Most of the company’s 14 employees have worked there for years, including office manager Bonnie Evans, who has logged 22 years on the job. “Tom and his sons Steve and Russ work just as hard as all the other guys,” Evans says. “I think that says a lot.” We do, too.
Post-Natal Workout: Revolution Fitness
4242 Ridge Rd., Oakley, (513) 272-2345
Fruit of the Looms may snap back wash after wash, but post-pregnancy low belly sag is a bitch to beat back. Thankfully, two classes at Revolution Fitness—Restore the Core and Mommymuscle Sculpt with Baby Weight—are specifically designed for the post-natal body. Restore the Core targets the transverse abdominus, the deep muscle tissue that stretches the most during pregnancy. Revolution owner (and mother of two) Mary Beth Knight developed the class after observing a caesarian delivery. In Mommymuscle Sculpt, moms wear junior in the carrier while doing squats, lunges, and standing hamstring curls, and working resistance tubes. “Moms love it because they don’t feel guilty leaving baby behind and it gives them community,” says Knight.
Musicians’ Exchange: CityBeat’s free online classifieds
Whether you’re a new age worship band looking for a drummer (“PROS ONLY! Pro gear, talent, and stage presence a must!”), or a Queensrÿche cover band looking for a Marshall stack amp, the Musician’s Exchange section in CityBeat’s free online classifieds is where it’s at. CityBeat was one of the first to offer online classifieds and has since developed a simple and efficient system that attracts dozens of new ads each week. So don’t ya cry no more, Mr. Experienced, Mature Bass Player Seeking Classic Rock Band—there’ll be peace when you are done searching their Web site.
Doggy Day Care: Camp Bow Wow
4955 Creek Rd., Blue Ash, (513) 745-9850
Want your pooch running with the right crowd? Pack him off to Camp Bow Wow. The day and overnight kennel accepts only dogs that are neutered or spayed, healthy, immunized, and socialized. Pups as young as 4 months are welcome and there’s a “senior lounge” for the elderly. Campers romp in size- and temperament-appropriate playgroups attended by first aid–trained employees. If your dog is too young for camp, there’s puppy socialization class on Tuesday nights. Imagine a room filled with 10-week-old yappers. Says Camp Bow Wow owner Carol Neckel, “It’s a lot of fun.”
Spa Therapy: Prenatal Massage at SIA Spa
8127 Montgomery Rd., Kenwood, (513) 985-0777
The owners and managers of SIA Spa are so dedicated to providing true Ayurvedic therapies to their clients that they sent half of their massage therapists to India for a five-week training course. It worked. After dispatching our achy, bloated, pregnant reporter to seek the best therapeutic treatment she could find, her prenatal massage at SIA Spa left her nearly speechless. From the lavish turquoise, wood, water, and bamboo interiors to the plush robes and slippers to the actual massage (by a certified prenatal massage therapist), our reporter temporarily forgot the aches and pains generated by the growing baby jostling for real estate inside her. No easy task, to be sure.
Pet Sitter: The Dapper Dog Sitter
College Hill, (513) 591-0107
Want to keep your pets from peeing on your carpets or up-ending garbage cans in retaliation for being left alone for hours on end? Marilyn Dapper’s The Dapper Dog Sitter will pay 30-minute visits—with a daily minimum of two—to your home to feed, walk, and play with your pets while you’re working that 10-hour day or off on a four-day weekend. If all you got from the kennel is fleas (or if your animals need some surrogate lovin’), then the human contact of The Dapper Dog Sitter will go a long way. “I find that people who really care about their pets are gonna have pet sitters,” says Dapper, in business four years. Dapper lives in College Hill and contains her business to a five-mile radius of the intersection of Hamilton Avenue and North Bend Road, but she will assess a nominal fee for pet owners outside the range.
Rehearsal Dinner Site: La Petite Pierre
7800 Camargo Rd., Madeira, (513) 527-4909
Now that Michele Adrian Vollman and Suzy Adrian deYoung seem to be catering half the elegant events in the city, their charming restaurant, La Petite Pierre, is no longer open for romantic dinners. But you can still book the cozy, candlelit room for private parties and customize a meal from Alsace-trained chef Suzy’s menu of seasonal foods and carefully-crafted dishes. With just 46 seats, it’s the perfect size for a night to remember.
Couture Alterations: Mary Wright
It happens: you find the perfect Prada, but it’s in a slightly imperfect size, and you don’t want to trust your treasure to any old stitcher. Mary Wright is the go-to expert for intricate alterations. An adjunct faculty member who teaches design construction at UC’s College of Fashion Design, Wright knows garment construction inside and out. Short-waisted? Long-waisted? Broad through the rear? She’ll tell you what’s possible—and what isn’t—if a garment needs adjustment, so that even your off-the-rack purchase will look like it was made for you.
Custom Car Detailing: MV Automotive
4875 Mulhauser Rd., West Chester, (513) 860-4454
Imagine driving down the street and seeing a ’72 Cutlass with iridescent paint that changes colors when the light hits just right. No, you aren’t in an episode of MTV’s Pimp My Ride, but you probably have Matt Volle to thank for the eye candy. The owner of MV Automotive in West Chester, Volle has been doing custom paint jobs for seven years. Want racing stripes on your Civic? How about flames on your Suburban? (A custom job will run you $1,000 to $10,000.) Volley, who received master technician status through the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (it’s like graduate school for mechanics), can even build a car from scratch. All Xzibit does is host.
Outdoor Wedding Site: Peterloon Estate
8605 Hopewell Rd., Indian Hill, (513) 791-7600
If you want your wedding to be a natural wonder, consider hosting the festivities at Peterloon. The 72-acre estate was originally home to developer John J. Emery (see Carew Tower) and his wife Irene, but now provides nonprofit organizations with a space to hold events. As luck would have it, they do weddings and receptions, too. Matt Feldman, director of Peterloon Foundation, says the boxwood garden next to the east wing is a popular spot with brides. Maybe they’re charmed by the architectural details—like the stone snails that sit atop the east wing’s wall—or the fact that their ceremony will be one of only a handful held each year on the grounds.
Eyebrow Wax: Nicole Robinson
Christophermarcus Salon, 2729 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, (513) 321-4271
Nicole Robinson has tattoos. Several of them. She wears clunky black shoes, miniskirts, and tops whimsical in the way that Nancy Spungen’s tops were whimsical—meaning, not really. She’s going to hurt you and you know it, but it’s necessary. She’s your eyebrow dominatrix and you like it when it hurts so good. Because when she’s done smearing piping-hot wax across your unruly brows, and pressing and yanking off the small squares of paper that affix to the wax and snatch out your hairs, she’ll tidy up your under brows and eliminate your unibrow with the annoying pluck, pluck…OUCH! of the tweezers. You will emerge from the Christophermarcus Salon with positively face-changing eyebrows. Be prepared: Your friends will ask you where you got them done. Don’t be afraid. Share the pain.
Art Framer: Carteaux & Leslie
921 Vine St., downtown, (513) 721-9555
Framing art is an emotional experience requiring balance and vision, like fixing up two good friends. Good thing Tim Leslie of book, art, and frame shop Carteaux & Leslie works according to the pleasure principle. “I’m a classic Libra,” says Leslie. “I like to satisfy people. When they get things back and they really love it, it makes my day.” With 22 years of framing experience, including an apprenticeship with the Sande Webster Gallery in Philadelphia, Leslie can help you decide between “old school” framing with French matting and marble papers, or the drama of shadowboxes, or the simplicity of wood frames, some of which have the patina of heirlooms. He spent a decade running the framing department at Prince Reproductions until 2004 when bookseller Scott Carto, whose art he’d been framing, suggested a merger. The result is the ideal framework.
Mac: Élan Technologies
8016 Beechmont Ave., Anderson Twp. (513) 474-5004
PC: DR Micro
1698 Chase Ave., Northside, (513) 861-4622
So, the bits have hit the fan? Before you toss it out the window, call the computer gurus. The Apple Store sends Mac users to Élan Technologies, based in a former church in Northside (a stained glass Jesus oversees their conference table). Installation, upgrades, quick warranty repairs, training, and consulting are available from residential to corporate. They’ll even drop by to show you how to use your iMovie. DR Micro repairs most PCs in less than 48 hours, and they come to you. Owner Doug Neiheisel also hosts a weekly radio show on FM 96.5 called—what else?—Geek Talk.
Vintage Car Rental: A Bee Limousine
(513) 336-8108, www.abeelimo.com
If your idea of romantic wedding transportation is piling into a stretch Hummer with two dozen of your best friends and enough liquor for an Irish wake, well, fine. But if you and your beloved desire more grace, there’s The Queen Bee from A Bee Limousine in Mason: a 1939 Cadillac Fleetwood, bluer than Sinatra’s eyes, with whitewalls and plush upholstery. The car is a registered historic vehicle that even has the original radio with WLW and WSAI on the tuning buttons. It’s popular with brides and grooms and “occasional theme parties,” says general manager Shelly Letterbie. And no matter where you’re going, it takes you back.
Body Piercing: Acme Body Piercing and Tattoo
2703 Vine St., Corryville (513) 559-1664
Acme Body Piercing and Tattoo feels sterile the way a doctor’s office does. OK, a really edgy doctor’s office, maybe. And we like that. Twelve years ago, before owner Cannon Miller started piercing, he traveled to San Francisco to attend body piercing intensives from the legendary Fakir Musafar, who has more than 40 years of experience in the body arts. Since then he has poked holes in people’s nostrils, upper lip (labret), tongue, belly button, and even more extreme locales (does Prince Albert ring a bell?). “I like the idea of adorning yourself without the permanence of a tattoo, but you have to be careful. There is no license or certification for body piercing,” says Miller, who has seven piercings himself. “I sleep better knowing that I’m doing everything on the up and up.” So do we.
Exercise Routine: PoleKittens Fitness
2703 Vine St,. Corryville, (513) 559-1665
“I Know What Boys Like” by The Waitresses provides the soundtrack as Stephanie proceeds through a routine consisting of maneuvers with names like “Bow and Arrow,” “Faith Spin,” “Rocking Horse,” and “Flying V” while four other women cheer her on. But instead of a balance beam the equipment is a floor-to-ceiling pole. Sultry, yes, but these women are shedding inches and inhibitions instead of clothes through a full body workout that combines elements of dance and strength training while gaining flexibility, balance, and self-confidence. With a dozen classes behind her, Stephanie—who indeed moves with the agility of a cat—has acquired significant upper body and core strength, poise, and motivation amid this girls club of sweat and sass. All that and inner thighs with the grip of a pit bull.
Four neighborhoods, four manicures, 10 great-looking nails.
Spa de da
8315 Beechmont Ave., Anderson Twp., (513) 474-8000
Color: Malaga Wine from OPI. This brand is a spa favorite, known for its clever color names. Base coat: This four-year-old full-service (hair, nails, facials, massage) salon is a purple and earth-toned oasis in the middle of a strip mall. Zoya colors also available. Thumbs Up For: The convenient ring holder. We don’t like leaving our rings on the table.
Tanya’s Image and Wellness Salon
2883 Town Center Blvd., Crestview Hills, (859) 578-9400
Color: Sasha, from Zoya, a line of toluene-, formaldehyde-, and DPB-free polish; no surprise in an Aveda salon. Base coat: You can’t beat Aveda products, and when you’re done getting pampered, you can stroll through Crestview Hills Town Center and show off your new hands. Thumbs Up For: The warm-towel wrap that goes over a coat of Aveda hydrating masque. It feels divine.
Alverno Salon & Spa
5169 Mt. Alverno Rd., Delhi, (513) 451-9170
Color: Chocolate Moose, OPI Base coat: An oasis of contemporary design—blond wood panels, curved cabinets, sleek styling stations—hidden in the Del Fair Shopping Center. Thumbs Up For: The comfy Herman Miller Caper chair.
Bajon Salon & Spa
6072 West Chester Rd., West Chester, (513) 874-9999
Color: Grand Central Carnation, OPI Base coat: Spacious and comfortable, this salon uses a line of haircare products called Sozo, developed by owner Karen Welch and her husband. Also carries Madras 641, a line of fun, funky clothing created by a Fairfield mom. Thumbs Up For: The nail dryer. No dings in the polish
Illustration by Sasha Barr