The GitterPicker String Factory operates on this firm principle: Hand-picked guitars are better guitars. GitterPicker's acoustic and electric instruments are hand-tuned to perfection by a luthier (that's music talk for professional guitar technician). "Basically that means that all our guitars are playable and sound good," says owner Laura Radcliff. "A neck might not be set up right, or strings might be too high off the neck, and you might have to push too hard to get the sound you want, and that makes it hurt. Our $200 guitars are just as playable as our $2,000 guitars." GitterPicker's carries quality instruments from Cort, Lakewood, Walden, and Heritage Guitars.
9224 Darrow Road, Suite Y,
Located in Rootstown, TEMA Guitar has something for everyone, from the metal musician to the classical guitarist. It carries more than 300 styles, ranging from G&L to the original Gibson Heritage, all models of ESP, Schecter, Fernandez, and many more, and is fully equipped with a line of sound-reinforcement and band instruments. TEMA, the only distributor of High Watt amplifiers in the state of Ohio, is also a manufacturer of Grunt Amplifiers, providing customers with unique shapes and unique sounds. Strike a chord with the musician in your life with a guitar gift pack, which includes five packs of strings (any choice of gauge), a tuner, a wipe cloth, and an effects pedal -- all for only $100. TEMA's goal is to cater to the working musician.
4081 State Route 44
(half a mile from I-76)
Since 1989, Adesso Fashion for Men has been providing men with stylish, quality clothing and accessories along with the highest level of service. Some of the premier designers include Borrelli, Just Cavalli, Pal Zileri and Calvin Klein.
Adesso is proud to be included in Esquire Magazine's issue of "TOP 100 MENS STORE IN THE U.S." With an expert tailor on staff, we'll make sure you look your best.
19071 Old Detroit Road,
Rocky River, 440-333-4778,
Located in the Warehouse District next to the city's hottest night clubs, Brigade carries a wide selection of locally themed T-shirts by Clifton Park. Obey provides a full assortment of hats and tees. Local Hippnotic makes a line of contemporary women's wear that will have your friends asking where you got your outfit. In addition to Cleveland exclusives, Brigade carries sweaters by 555 and Cast designer tees. Stop in now for everything from your head to your toes, from Adidas sneakers to Yoko Devereaux shirts and Obedient button-downs.
1300 West Ninth Street,
Take a walk back in time at The Cleveland Shop , our city's oldest vintage store. For 26 years, the shop has decked out customers in their favorite retro threads, from T-shirts to tuxes, dresses to denim. Accent your wardrobe with a hip handbag from the 1930s or a brilliant brooch from the 1950s. Be adventurous and discover that certain something you've been looking for.
11606 Detroit Avenue,
Fascinations in the Valley has Northeast Ohio's largest selection of lingerie and adult toys, including everything you could find at Victoria's Secret, whether it's corsets, garters, costumes, or sleepwear, and then some. Specializing in what they call "the art of being real," Fascinations carries the plus sizes that most shops don't, all the way up to 4X. The Akron boutique specializes in bridalwear, but also carries threads for your husband or boyfriend. Boxers are popular for him and her, as are silk pajamas, and pajama sets are popular gifts for couples. "I sell sets to a lot of husbands and wives," says owner Debbie Light. "He wears the top, she wears the bottom." Visit Fascinations' online catalog of 50,000 toys at www.fascinationsinthevalley.com (they're shipped discreetly), or have Light or one of her staff assemble a gift package for as little as $40.
1770 Merriman Road,
The expert staff at Legend knows everything you need to look great this holiday season, and through the new year. And they have a friendly way of creating a relaxed atmosphere, helping you make choices on how to look your best. Upscale but affordable, this Warehouse District boutique carries clothes for any occasion, from dressy women's wear to the latest in men's fashions. If it's a sophisticated business meeting or night out, try savvy outfits from Jack & Rae, Twinkle by Wenlan, Petra Zillia. Skirts with ribbons, big chunky sweaters, layering tanks, elegant dresses -- Legend has what you need. Men enjoy a broad selection from Kenneth Cole Reaction to Seven Diamonds and Dulce de Leche. For your fresh new year's look, Moschino will arrive at Legend in January. Tailoring is complimentary, and appointments and personal shopping are a specialty. Gift certificates are available.
1224 West Sixth Street,
Located in the heart of one of the Rubber City's most stylish districts, Revival Resale Boutique knows that the best way to look stylish in 2005 is to mix fashions from yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And revival is just the place to do it all. In addition to new, designer, and vintage clothing, the emporium also stocks jewelry and other accessories. When revival buys used clothing, it pays special attention to quality. The boutique also stocks the work of local designers, who make original clothing, accessories, and screen-printed items, including revival-exclusive Akron-themed T-shirts and underwear. And its lines of new fashions include everything from Goorin Brothers Headwear to the People Have Spoken leather shoes and boots.
822 West Market Street, Akron, 330-762-4845,
Shoptalk Lingerie will help you become Santa's little helper with its sexy teddies. Celebrate the season in stretch fishnet and leather trim. Spaghetti straps tie at the neck, and the back tapers to a thong. Sizes S, M, L, 1X, 2X, and 3X.
5310-1/2 Warrensville Center Road, Maple Heights, 44137,
Clothes from Suite Life have all the little details that make you a big standout, whether you're a businesswoman or an professional man with a bright social life. The Warehouse District boutique has big names and hot, emerging lines from New York and L.A., many of which are being introduced in Cleveland for the first time. Ask the friendly, fashion-forward staff to show you the progressive but dressy clothes from cutting-edge lines like Kapadia and PHB. For ladies, BCBG makes everything from suit blazers to petite soft shirts. And for suave look, try something from Bogosse -- that's French for "good-looking gentleman." Stop in to learn more about Suite Life's personal shopping or to set an appointment. Tailoring is complimentary, and gift certificates are available.
1300 West Ninth Street, #300,
Are you a warlord or a war machine? You can be both at I'm Game , a unique retail store that specializes in games, focusing on board, tabletop, and card varieties. Before you take a game home, step up to the area's only game bar and let one of the store's trained gametenders help you learn the ins and outs of your new favorite pastime (or obsession). I'm Game has all the basics, like Magic: the Gathering, Monopoly, Risk, Dungeons and Dragons, and Yu-Gi-Oh -- and so much more. For children, try Alfredo's Food Fight, Cranium: Hullabaloo, or Fish Eat Fish. Planning a holiday party? Keep the gathering going with Apples to Apples, Tribond, or Faces. Or for the strategy gamer in your life, give Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, or Settlers of Catan. They're interactive, educational, and most of all, fun!
156 Great Northern Mall,
North Olmsted, 440-734-1050, www.imgamestore.com
Now that you're all grown up (or just mostly grown up), isn't it time to make your inner fifth-grader happy? Give him the at-home arcade or game room he once fantasized about. Pinball Shoppe has all the most popular quarter-operated obsessions from the days of your youth. Now you can own vintage videogames and top-of-the-line pinball tables, as well as your more recent barroom obsessions. Current stock includes the 1982 original stand-up Pac-Man, Addams Family pinball, and the deluxe Golden Tee Fore 2005 Extra edition. Delivery is available, and each game is submitted to a rigorous 12-step overhaul process to ensure that it plays as if it were new. If arcade games aren't your thing, stop in for a look at deluxe poker chips, neon signs, and slot machines.
27693 Butternut Ridge Road, North Olmsted,
Buying games isn't as simple as it once was. Recess Games not only has gaming materials for kids 11 to 90, but it has removed the guesswork from your shopping by adding an in-store registry (really, how can you be expected to know the myriad differences between Warhammer Fantasy Battles and Warhammer 40K?). Whether it's collectible card games like Magic: the Gathering, a fully loaded computer, or gaming models, it's all there in the Recess database for your game-gift guidance. Also popular this year are Avalon Hill's next-generation board games, from the absorbing, Clue-style Betrayer at House on the Hill to the simpler, fast-paced (and addictive) Vegas Showdown.
250 Great Northern Mall,
North Olmsted, 440-779-7008, www.recess.net
For Those in Need
A full-service salon, Carabel Beauty knows what a girl wants and goes the extra mile to provide it. Long-haired girls love our headbands, rhinestone combs, and ponytail holders. For little girls ages 4 to 11, our Princess package of a hair style and nail service comes with a free hair accessory. Customers age 13 and up can enjoy a facial and manicure at a special holiday discount. Gift certificates are available for popular hair products and bath & body selections.
15309 Madison Avenue, Lakewood, 216-226-8616
Details Salon and Spa is an exclusive boutique-salon with an inviting atmosphere. The members of its rigorously trained staff take pride in their exceptional client care and services. Details uses Aveda, a full line of certified organic products. But just because it's a high-end salon, that doesn't mean it's just for women. More than 40 percent of its clients are men, who stop in for the full relaxation treatment, everything from a scalp massage to a pedicure. In addition to spa and salon services, Details carries a full assortment of inspirational and self-help books -- from such notable authors as Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dwyer -- as well as journals, candles, and oils. Stop in to browse, buy a gift certificate, or choose a gift basket. Prepackaged gift kits are available, and the staff can customize one for you.
20140 Detroit Road, Rocky River, 440-333-9696,
Euro~Hair offers a wide variety of services, including hair styling, color, extensions, and facials. Euro~Hair's talented stylists shape hair to fit an individual's most flattering, natural, and progressive style. They use color to embolden, enlighten, and empower to show hair in its most natural, spectacular light. For example, Jeffrey, a third-generation hairdresser, created a unique, proprietary coloring system that we call the first innovative coloring system since the creation of Impressionism. This system is used exclusively by Euro~Hair stylists. Gina, an expert at texture cutting, has spent a decade working and training around the world and is a former Redken color educator. Neal, a former director for on of Mademoiselle Magazine's Top 10 Salons in the Country, has over 20 years of experience in the industry. Amanda, a Eufora Elite team member and a Martin Parsons graduate, specializes in all the hottest hair trends, including shaping, color, and updos. Euro~Hair also offers appointment booking online. Schedule your appointment today.
2661 West Market Street, Fairlawn, 330-864-4872,
You won't want to leave Ibi David Salon-Spa -- Westlake's top spot for relaxation and repose -- where the only goal is to make you happy. For gift baskets or stocking stuffers, Ibi David carries a full assortment of Aveda hair- and skin-care products -- everything from makeup to nutrients to scents. The salon-spa's professional staff members are required to take continuing education classes to ensure that they bring you the newest, best, and classiest service and style, whether they're giving a simple haircut or helping you choose from eight prepackaged holiday gifts that will excite your senses. Can't decide? Buy a gift certificate and let the lucky recipient use it for a one-hour Tourmaline Radiance Facial, or a full day of head-to-toe pampering and beauty services.
30590 Center Ridge Road,
The friendly, knowledgeable staff at Laura Lee Salon can help you customize a gift for any price range. Gift certificates are available, whether you want to give a makeover or a soothing hand-and-foot massage to that special someone. If you're pressed for time and have to get ready for a holiday party, you can be in and out with a new look in under an hour. Need a last-minute gift? Try the Splash of Renewal at Home Spa Ritual Kit, which restores and renews, using the Aveda Caribbean Therapy body care. Add Caribbean Therapy bath soak under running water to create a milky soak for the skin. Light a Rainforest lead-free wick candle to create a spicy, energizing aroma. Cleanse your body with a Caribbean Therapy body bar, and enjoy mango and cocoa butters. Towel dry, and allow a cool Caribbean Therapy flower-water mist to tone and hydrate the skin, then hydrate and replenish it with Caribbean Therapy body crème. "And when you're done, you're ready to go to sleep or do something even more fun," says owner Laura Goldstein.
1797 Coventry Road,
Mark Kendall Salon and Day Spa offers the latest in therapeutic treatments for your hair, nails, skin, body, and soul, all in a clean, comfortable, welcoming environment. The Avon salon-spa's highly experienced staff, coffee-and-wine bar, contemporary decor -- including a cozy fireplace and muraled ceiling -- add up to a completely soothing and renewing experience. Couples services are a specialty, whether you want a haircut, retexturizing, facial, body treatment, or wax. Call to schedule a free consultation, book an appointment, or purchase a gift certificate.
2100 Center Road, Avon
Never has a salon been so manly. Lakewood's Reagle Beagle hair salon for men is a Details feature waiting to happen. Head-to-toe grooming is an important part of the services its staff provides, but the salon is more like a private men's club, a hybrid of a sports bar and spa. At the Reagle Beagle, the days of thumbing through a magazine while you wait for your haircut are a thing of the past. The Beagle has a bar that serves beer and wine at happy-hour prices. And once you've chosen a beverage, you can keep busy practicing at the putting green, playing Golden Tee, or watching a game on a series of big-screen TVs. Best of all, in our humble opinion, are the massages, which come in 30-, 60-, and 90-minute varieties. Gift certificates are available for your friends, your boss (nothing says "promote me" like a 90-minute rubdown), and you.
17617 Detroit Avenue,
At Sélah Salon and Spa , you will experience unsurpassed tranquillity as our professional staff provides you with the very best in massage services and facial, hair, and nail treatments. From the moment you set foot in our luxurious grand foyer and throughout your visit with us, we will indulge your senses and bring you relaxation so that you can pause, meditate, and take time to celebrate. Try an express pedicure, a 30-minute massage, or a signature spa basket.
1127 Euclid Avenue, 216-338-1771, selahsalon.net
The Spa at Springfield gives you the royal treatment, with a full complement of packages that allow you to spend an hour (or five) as a king or queen. The Fit for a King option start with an 85-minute hot-stone massage, followed by an exfoliating glycolic back scrub, a manicure, a pedicure, and a session with a hair stylist, all topped off with a man-sized lunch. For the ladies, the Grand Spa Experience begins a one-hour massage, continues with an hour-long whirlpool-spa pedicure and moves on to a manicure, four-layer facial, custom haircut and styling, and a professional makeup application, concluding with a light lunch. Shorter packages can have you back at the office in under two hours, looking better and feeling relaxed from light-wave treatments or a deep-tissue massage.
20926 Drake Road, Strongsville, 440-238-2111
For Gearheads Classic Motor Sports has toys for motorheads of all ages. Formula-1 remote-control cars are always a hit. Junior ATVs are available for riders as young as five, and Classic Motor Sports carries motorcycles, dirt bikes, and ATVs for adults. For teenagers, the Streetsboro shop has a full line of Lifan gas scooters, ATVs, mini-crotch rockets, and mini-choppers. Stop in to take a look at the ATV gloves, novelty gifts, and helmets. Whether for kids or extra-large sizes, if a helmet isn't in stock, the store can have it for you in 48 hours.
1727 Streetsboro Plaza,
It's hard to believe that with more than 10,000 active customers, the service departments at Motorcars Honda are still among Cleveland's best-kept secrets. If you have a Honda or know someone who does, discover what many Greater Clevelanders have known for years: Motorcars' "Customers for Life" philosophy has helped create two of the best auto service departments in the area. At the main dealership in Cleveland Heights (located at the intersection of Mayfield and Superior), the service department is renowned for its late-night hours: t's open Monday through Thursday until 3 a.m. Honda drivers love the convenience of dropping off their cars in the evening and picking them up the next morning, finished and ready to go. Motorcars Honda has also had a satellite service center at 2011 St. Clair Avenue NE for the past 13 years, so Honda owners who live or work downtown have enjoyed the convenience of name-brand dealer service in a convenient location. Call today for your appointment.
2953 Mayfield Road,
216-932-2400, ext. 512;
2011 St. Clair Avenue NE,
If all those episodes of American Chopper have you hankerin' for a big motorcycle of your own, come on out to Southeast Harley-Davidson , which had its own Paul Sr. and Jr. long before the TV show. Family-owned and operated since 1948, the Bedford Heights dealership has grown from a small shop to a virtual Harley mini-mall, complete with a boxcar-themed diner that serves bike-titled dishes like the V-Rod, the Fat Boy of steak sandwiches, which is made to perfection with real filet mignon. The friendly staff of lifelong riders can help you choose either a new or pre-owned bike. And if you're looking for something smaller, gift certificates are available in any denomination and can be spent on polo shirts, leather gloves, jackets, or even a neon sign. One great gift idea is a brass or silver bell: In Harley lore, the bells ward off gremlins, goblins, and loose nuts -- and tradition has it that they don't work if the rider buys his own. "It's a nice, inexpensive gift that means a lot," says sales associate Gwen Dean.
23105 Aurora Road,
Audio Outlaws offers comprehensive options in car sound and security systems, specializing in aftermarket car stereos, video systems, remote starters, and custom work -- usually with same-day installation. CD players begin at around $100, and you can choose from Panasonic, JVC, and Sony systems. Follow Howard Stern to Sirius satellite radio, or choose XM for other exclusive programming. Remote-start systems cool your car down in the summer or heat your truck in the winter. TV-DVD combo systems can be attached to your mirror, dashboard, consoles, or visor -- high-resolution swiveling models are available now.
4988 West 150th Street,
Brook Park, 216-362-7059
Noyz & Toyz Audio has some of the city's finer car audio and video systems. Sun-visor-mounted six-way tune-up tweeters are only $29.95. 400-Watt Dub Amps are available for $99.95. To give your car that sleek look, LG Performance Wings are $99.95. A full range of stiffening capacitors are $69.96 to $99.95. For peak performance, the 12", 700-watt, sub-amplifier band pass package is $299.95. And if you're tired of hearing "Are we there yet?", end the backseat bickering by showing a movie. Just the right size for the back of your headrest, 7" TFT/LCD video monitors begin at $649.95.
7100 Denison Avenue,
Ram Electronics World specializes in used audio equipment, vintage counter-top kitchen appliances, and modern electronic components. Looking for an unexpected gift for people who like to cook? Ram has the kind of sturdy blender they don't make anymore. A full kitchen collection features inexpensive cappuccino machines, juicers, and convection ovens. For the music lover, Ram has refurbished turntables, eight-track players, and cassette decks, as well as new and used combination shelf units. More high-tech choices include big-screen televisions and all-in-one printer-scanner-fax-copiers. And for the technophile who has everything, try a top-of-the-line eight-device universal remote. If the store doesn't have what you're looking for, its well-stocked warehouse is nearby. Ram also does repairs, and all used merchandise comes with a guarantee.
1848 West 25th Street
For Avid Readers
Joseph-Beth Booksellers has popular and premium gift solutions for music lovers, readers, children, and travelers, no matter what their tastes. Lynn Truss's new Talk to the Hand is a hilarious book on etiquette -- or the lack thereof -- in modern society. No Direction Home, the first feature-length film biography of Bob Dylan, is an instant classic from director Martin Scorsese. It focuses on Dylan's iconic 1961-1966 period. For children, the Creativity for Kids craft and model kits are perfect stocking stuffers. And there's more: Thomas the Train Under-the-Bed Trundle Tables, Vera Bradley handbags and accessories, and luggage from Ricardo Beverly Hills and Vera Bradley are a few examples of why Joseph-Beth is more than a bookstore.
Legacy Village, 24519 Cedar Road, Lyndhurst,
North Coast Nostalgia is Cleveland's oldest one-owner comic-book shop. Besides new and old comics, you can find movie prints, fantasy statues, and collectibles from '60s TV, Betty Boop, The Wizard of Oz, I Love Lucy, and The Three Stooges. Do you like Silver- and Golden-age comics? North Coast has the best selection of investment-quality comics from the 1940s to 1960s. Browse a deep collection of T-shirts, trade paperbacks, licensed giftware, and deluxe merchandise. Gift certificates are available. And best of all, it's all on sale from December 7 to 31.
5853 Ridge Road, Parma,
5140 Mayfield Road, Lyndhurst, 440-442-1986
It was some kind of radioactive reading bug! It crawled out of your stocking, clamped onto your hand, and created a strange urge to pick up the latest issues of Spider-Man, Identity Crisis, X-Men, and Sandman at Parma's York Comics & Cards . Its Customer Pull Service is the latest program to bite comic-book lovers: Just stop by the store and leave your name (or the name of a buddy), a phone number, and the list of comics you want. York will hold the new issues each month and ensure that you get the latest comics first. And did we mention that it's free? Or that you get a 10 percent discount? You can't beat that with Daredevil's blind-guy stick! "Not only is it a good gift for people who want to relive a little bit of their childhood, but it's also good for an escape," says manager Jae Fitch. "It lets you get away -- especially this time of the year."
7390 York Road, Parma,
Eight choices for holiday gifts and new year's reading from Mac's Backs Books on Coventry: 1) Sarah Willis' novel Sound of Us takes a look at the lonely Cleveland life of 48-year-old Alice Marlowe. 2) Al Franken's new hardback, The Truth (With Jokes), offers more of the comic's unbridled and incisive political invective. 3) Compiling the provocative works of more than 30 cutting-edge comic artists, World War 3 Illustrated is food for thought. 4) For kindergartners through fourth-graders, Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs: The Definitive Pop-Up is an illustrated look at the thunder lizards. 5) Naomi Shihab Nye's A Maze Me: Poems for Girls is recommended for girls in grades 8-12. 6) Harvey Pekar's latest graphic novel, The Quitter, is a look at his youth on the mean streets of mid-century Cleveland. 7) Joseph Motto: A Jazz Age Journey From Cleveland to Florence collects pictures of the visual artist's work, including local pieces. 8) Maureen McHugh's Mothers and Other Monsters shares 13 personal stories that explore powerful relationships.
1820 Coventry Road,
Cleveland Heights, 216-321-2665, www.macsbacks.com
For Nostalgia Buffs Coventry's
Big Fun has been voted the city's best source for vintage toys and retro T-shirts by a number of local publications, and is a nationally renowned source for vintage iron-on Ts, classic Star Wars action figures, Care Bears, original Transformers, My Little Ponies, Voltron toys, and classic lunchboxes. Big Fun also stocks a gigantic selection of merchandise from today's favorites, from Napoleon Dynamite to Family Guy. And Big Fun's two stores (conveniently located across the street from each other) offer the area's largest selection of licensed items from the holiday classic A Christmas Story, including bobbleheads, action figures, and even the famed garter-stocking leg lamps (full-scale and miniature models available for your coffee table). And if you have more old three-inch Boba Fetts and plastic Ninja Turtles than you know what to do with, Big Fun buys old toys too.
1814 and 1827 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights,
We won't say that you procrastinated, but you're a busy person, and gift-giving day is fast approaching. What to do? The Odyssey has something for everyone you know. And even if you don't know what to get, a quick walk through will give you plenty of ideas, from Texas Hold 'Em game sets to intimate gifts. A giant section, walled off for discreet shopping, is filled with lingerie, couples' games, and other fun toys. A diverse collection of casual art varies from framed stained-glass art to Dungeons and Dragons-style chess sets. For both the young and young at heart, the Odyssey has an array of gifts, novelties, gags, and joke items, including shock lighters, pens, remote controls, and cell phones. And if you're an old-fashioned prankster, the Odyssey still stocks hand-buzzers. Works every time!
7286 Aurora Road, Aurora,
For Art Collectors
Moo, Buzz, and Cock-A-Doodle-Doo: Outsiders Interpret the Animal Kingdom brings together the work of more than a dozen "outsider" artists with distinct and original techniques. The untraditional Larchmere gallery's latest show features American folk art from Charlie Lucas, R.A. Miller, and Jimmy Lee Sudduth. Psychiatric patients from Vienna, Austria's House of Artists -- including Johann Garber, Heinrich Reisenbauer, and Oswald Tschirtner -- contribute Art Brut. Self-taught artists from across the globe are also represented, including Daniel Belardinelli, Alexandra Huber, and Ian Pyper. Original artwork starts at under $100. Take home a painting, drawing, or sculpture by an internationally known artist. Or take home a Headfooters T-shirt.
12610 Larchmere Boulevard,
"An original piece of art is a gift you can enjoy for the rest of your life," says Art Gallery owner George Ann Trembour. "It's something no one else has. It's something special." The Art Gallery -- which actually has much more than art, but we'll talk about that in a minute -- offers one-of-a-kind pieces, including high-end original watercolors and glass sculptures. But the Willoughby gallery also has $10 stocking stuffers and other affordable gifts like handmade silver or gold ear threads, cast glass necklaces, original glass serigraphs, and handmade martini glasses. The gallery also custom-frames two- and three-dimensional objects, if you want to protect a limited-edition print or preserve a signed baseball.
4099 Erie Stree, Willoughby,
The last vestige of Cleveland's storied Morse Graphic Art Supply, Frannie the Framer still stocks art supplies, drafting tables, and more -- in addition to providing affordable and elegant options in art and framing. Popular with corporations that want to turn commendations into full presentations, Frannie is also the preferred stop for Cleveland State students seeking upscale dorm decorations. Besides frames, the store does a brisk business in vintage black-and-white photography, pre-Raphaelite art, landscapes, and prints of visual artists, from Frida Kahlo's paintings to semi-nude photography that's provocative, but not explicit. Though low-cost, high-quality reproductions are a specialty, the store doesn't limit itself to museum-quality art. It also has deep-frame shadow boxes for 3-D objects like sports jerseys. If you have time to browse through the extensive catalogs, you may even find a nice print of a supermodel in a LeBron jersey. Stop in for a free estimate.
1938 Euclid Avenue, 216-621-4175, www.franniesart.com
Painting, Pottery and More is everything you'd expect in a pottery studio, but a little more casual, a little more fun, and more than a little less expensive. Crafts lovers from 4 to 84 can choose their favorite figurine, wine chiller, ornaments, plates, or bowls, then paint them and have them finished, all at a flat price, without additional fees for studio time or kiln-firing. Larger items, including frames and custom family plates, are also available. The Strongsville shop is also a popular site for catered pottery parties. Prepackaged gifts are available, and for an original piece, you can bring your family in -- you can turn a baby's handprint into a great reindeer, under the guidance of the studio staff.
14755 Pearl Road, Strongsville, 440-846-1940
With a store in almost every Cleveland neighborhood, Arabica Coffee Houses are the area's top destination coffee shops. They offer the perfect spot to grab a cappuccino and a snack before you head back to the office. And they're a soothing place to sip a refreshing beverage while you listen to relaxing music and cruise the internet over the shop's wi-fi connection. Many of the stores can host your holiday gatherings. Each shop has a long list of useful presents, and gift certificates are available in $5 increments. Stainless-steel travel mugs keep coffee or tea warm on the ride to work during chilly winter mornings. Load up on beans to take the coffee-shop experience home. Or design your own custom-made gift baskets.
Arabica Café 56, 20630 North Park Boulevard, Shaker Heights, 216-371-5300
Arabica Coffeehouse, Bedford, 720 Broadway Avenue,
Arabica Coffeehouse, Cleveland, 818 East 185th Street,
Arabica Coffeehouse, Green, 1840 Town Park Center,
Arabica Coffeehouse , Parma, 6285 Pearl Road, 440-886-6648
Arabica Coffeehouse, Richfield, 4174 Wheatley Road,
Arabica Coffeehouse, Rocky River, 20672 Center Ridge Road, 440-331-3608
Arabica Coffeehouse, Sheffield, 5322 Abbe Road, 440-934-0900
Arabica Coffeehouse, University Circle, 11300 Juniper Road,
Arabica on Broadview,
7462 Broadview Road,
Lucy's Sweet Surrender has all the fresh-made pastries, cakes, cookies, and specialty foods you need for a wedding, continental business breakfast, or quick snack. One of the city's culinary cornerstones for more than 42 years, Lucy's offers something sweet for any and all occasions, including chocolate-mousse tortes and fresh-baked cinnamon rolls. For the many former Clevelanders who complain tht they can't find good strudel in their new cities, Lucy's will ship select items by UPS second-day air service. For locals who can't wait, there's in-town same-day delivery. Treats this mouthwatering can't get there fast enough. Open 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
12516 Buckeye Road,
Shaker Heights, 216-752-0828
Mustard Seed Café was the first certified organic market and café in Ohio, and it's still one of the leading sources for organic foods, many of them made in-house, including peanut butter, juices, and almond butter, to name a few. And natural foods aren't just for the granola-obsessed any more: Mustard Seed's bakery has a full assortment of traditional baked goods, all made with nonhydrogenated oils; the donuts, chocolate cake, crème brûlée, and cheesecakes here are as healthy as they get. For fans of more traditional healthy foods, the expert staff can help you design a holiday gift basket, made with certified organic fruit. With a complete assortment of pasta, wine, and fruit by the crate, it's a market that's more than super.
6025 Kruse Drive, Solon,
3885 West Market Street, Akron, 330-666-7333
OPA! mastermind Dimitri Ragousi grew up just outside Athens, Greece, standing next to his father, mother, and grandmother as they fed family, friends, and neighbors. Sharing good food that's lovingly prepared with family and friends is the foundation upon which OPA! has been built. While living in the historic Ohio City neighborhood, Dimitri became well-known for his creative dishes. Developed with Dimitri's innovative approach to cooking and catering, OPA! offers complete event coordination as well as its beautiful food. OPA!'s products and services include customized menus for any budget, rental service, event planning, staffing, flowers, table decorations, onsite cooking, cooking classes, gift baskets, and fund-raising assistance. From flowers to follow-up, Dimitri and the OPA! staff will ensure that even you will enjoy your celebration!
1834 West 25th Street,
The Oregon Wine Club ships some of the state's finest wines directly to you. Oregon's climate is close to that of France, resulting in some of the country's finer pinot blanc, chardonnay, and pinot gris wines. Renowned for its burgundies, the area also consistently yields respectable pinot noir, syrah, and zinfandel. The Oregon Wine Club is popular with the discriminating and frugal: Most of its bottles cost between $20 and $45. A bottle of the winery's zinfandel from 100-year-old vines is a mere $32. Membership in its monthly subscription service begins at around $50. It's like having a tasting room dropped off at your door.
725 NE Fourth Street, Suite A, McMinnville, Oregon 97128
503-472-6454 or 1-800-946-3252; www.oregonwineclub.net
For Creative Types
Interior Design Outlet is a great place to furnish a room or finish it. The Warrensville Heights outlet is a fantastic source not only for contemporary furniture, but also for talented, experienced staffers available to consult with you on your decorating or redecorating needs. IDOC design consultants offer in-store consultation services on furniture placement and in-home visits for detailed floor plans, color consults, floor and window treatments, and lighting solutions, to help you make the right decision before you buy. IDOC's Clearance Center features an ever-changing collection of special-purchase merchandise from some of the quality manufacturers featured in our premier showroom. Every item is available for immediate delivery, so you can fall in love today and have it home tomorrow.
2441 Miles Road, Warrensville Heights, I-271 and 480
Do you live in Cleveland and love music? Get used to the name Brandon Bishop. You'll be hearing it a lot. Bishop is making a name for himself in the Cleveland recording industry. Blessed with a remarkable ear and a natural connection with performing artists, he has become a popular choice when music-makers want to record their best work. Groups and solo artists alike find Bishop's helpful and easy style to be the key to getting the most from a recording session. Comfortable with first-timers and music veterans, he knows how to keep artists creative while keeping them on task. Brandon Bishop is currently on staff at
Lava Room Recording on Cleveland's West Side. Working under the wings of local legends Mike Brown, Billy Morris, and John Walsh has given Bishop a well-rounded sense of Cleveland music history. His formal training came at Full Sail in Florida, and his first love is hip-hop. But he's expert in all styles of music and commercial recording. Brandon Bishop, Lava Room Recording,
1305 West 80th Street,
For Those Who Want Bling
Just because you're spending New Year's Eve in Cleveland doesn't mean you can't sparkle as if you shop in Manhattan. Glitz and Najarel offer a unique selection of clothing, low-cost accessories, semiprecious stones, designer-lookalike fashion jewelry, evening bags, and designer jewelry lines. "Jewelry is our main focus," says owner Fay Kornfeld. "And we have a total line of accessories. A lot of great gifts under $30. Faye K. Designs provides you with an exclusive line of sterling silver. It's great for day or evening wear and special occasions."
Glitz, 401 Euclid Avenue, No. 5 (the Arcade), 216-687-1358
Najarel, 1301 East 9th Street, 216-623-8415
Faye K. designs
For the Next Tony Hawk
Yo's Board Shop carries everything a skater needs to go pro, including trucks, wheels, grip tape, footwear, clothes, ramps, rails, stickers, hardware, DVDs, hats, helmets, pads, and much, much more. From Alien to Zero, Yo's offers a long list of top names, including Dogtown, Darkstar, Deathbox, Krooked, Blind, and Santa Cruz. The Strongsville skate center carries old-school decks and long boards, and has just stocked up on C.Y.A. & Zapp Skim Boards. The shop has an assortment of pre-built and custom decks.
14492 Pearl Road, Strongsville, 440-878-1190,
For Everybody Else
Nestled in the heart of downtown, this 60-year-old family pawnshop is the place where you can find just about anything. Are you an aspiring musician? Uncle Ben's Pawnshop won't laugh at you. Instead, one of the friendly salespeople will point you in the direction of the well-stocked music selection, ranging from Fender guitars to Gibson amplifiers. How about the collector in you? No shortage here. Uncle Ben's carries antiques ranging from a well-to-do centerpiece to an old-school eight-track player, all within your budget. This is anything but your average pawnshop. Uncle Ben's buys, sells, trades, and carries TVs, diamond rings, coins, digital cameras, antiques, toys, furniture, and everything in between. So before you go broke trying to buy that perfect gift this holiday season, stop down, bring some stuff you don't use, and see how much you can save or make this holiday season.
2600 St. Clair Avenue,
Once again, that magical time of year is about to arrive at Tower City Center . Many Northeast Ohio residents will make their traditional pilgrimage for holiday activities that are sure to rekindle old memories of Christmas in the city, while others will be visiting for the first time. At more than 100 specialty stores and restaurants, you can discover the lights, the sights, and the delights of the holiday season, just as you remember them. Tower City Center's holiday festivities include Holiday Magic, an original music revue (free); the Toy Soldier and Friends (free); Holiday Express Train Ride ($2); Santa's Magical Village (free visit, photo packages available for purchase); the Twigbee Shop; and Bruce the Spruce. There are also parking and valet specials, free gift-wrapping service, dinner-and-theater packages, and more! Feel the magic of the holidays at Tower City Center.
230 West Huron Road,
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