New Market Hardware

March 7, 2008 at 7:53 pm | Posted in Matthew Hurst, Photo Essay, shopping | Comments Off on New Market Hardware
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Don’t believe the signs, the storefront for New Market Hardware is still there. This 90-year old business was once a fixture surrounded by factories and saloons, but today is surrounded by the loft apartments and trendy restaurants popularized by SLU’s off-campus students.

Some people get excited by every opportunity for an Ikea to move to town, but this is probably one of St. Louis’ best stores for DIY. In a day and age where community hardware stores have been run out by chain stores with acres of home-improvement products that make it impossible to find anything, the friendly staff at this tiny corner store know exactly where to find all the part necessary for your project. That would probably explain how this local business became the RFT’s best hardware store a couple years back.

If you’d like to learn more about New Market Hardware, Living Saint Louis has an excellent documentary explaining the store’s history, or you could pay them a visit next time you’re in midtown. Maybe they can help you figure out how to make that bike rack you’ve been considering.

It’s easy being green

March 7, 2008 at 12:15 am | Posted in Environment, Events, Matthew Hurst, shopping | 2 Comments
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Full Disclosure: I drove a hydrocarbon-powered combustion engine automobile without carpooling to the StLouisGreen.com website launch party this last Thursday night.  But considering the long line of cars parked along West Park Avenue, and the relative absence of bikes chained in front of the Tarlton Corp building the party was being hosted in, I don’t think I was alone.  Clearly everyone was eager to embrace public transportation and maybe hug a couple trees.

StLouisGreen.com is a website that knows its limits, so instead of trying to correct our degenerative transportation infrastructure, StLouisGreen used it’s launch party to promote local bicycle businesses as a means of individual transportation.  A quick visit to their website, which 52nd City correctly observes had been up and running already, reveals a blog with some transportation tips and other ways to conserve energy and resources; now I know I should unplug my laptop and other devices with rechargeable batteries since they consume energy unnecessarily after they’re fully juiced. 

And when I say that StLouisGreen.com knows it’s limits, I mean that StLouisGreen doesn’t try to replace the Sierra Club, but instead promotes the local businesses that promote environmental sustainability and conservation.  Their website is a detailed resource that is simple to navigate, and they do all the hard research work so you don’t have to.  Best of all it connects us with some of those “green collar” jobs we keep hearing about on the election trail.  If you’re interested in going green but don’t have a green thumb like me, I would like to give the website a tentative (green) Thumbs Up.

As for that launch party – Because it was a social event in Saint Louis, green drinks of all kinds had to be involved; even AB was there serving recycling friendly aluminium bottle samples.  But instead of acting as a launch party to introduce the site, the night evolved into a well-catered networking event those entrepreneurs trying to make some green keeping the earth green, trading their business cards printed on recycled paper using biodegradable ink.  Also there was bluegrass music, which is it least partly green.  The website itself was projected in a side room, which made it easy to forget you were attending a party to launch the site and made for a surreal merging of the plugged-in and the homegrown.

Extra Credit: Check out the green features of the Tarlton building and see more of the website launch party in our FlickR photoset.

Craft Me an Indie Boy, Please!

February 1, 2008 at 4:52 pm | Posted in Art Show, Events, exhibition, Lauren Reid, mixtape, shopping | Comments Off on Craft Me an Indie Boy, Please!
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My friends know I like to be crafty. Hell, it’s in my blood. Whether its buddies insisting on feeding me with beers in exchange for sewing on a button or two or whipping up a new dress for myself, I love to say “Thanks, I made it.” For years, I’ve been a regular drifter, sometimes poster on Craftster, Etsy, Instructables, BurdaStyle…trust me, the list goes on.So between Mardi Gras stints, I’m hoping to substitute one holiday’s celebration for an early nod to another at Indie Valentine this Saturday. It’ll be a good chance to check out some creative locals and get away from both the drunks in Soulard and cheesy Hallmark cards that seem to take over the holiday. Needless to say, I’d like to check it out after my disappointing lack of attendance at the Rock N’ Roll Craft Show a couple months ago…In case you’re too drunk from the Fête events to make it (don’t forget, they’ll have a bar at the craft show too!) and can’t make it, here’s a mini-mix to craft to (while or while not on the juice).Lo-Fi Mellow Mode – A SideSew What – Secret Saturday Neutral Milk Hotel – Everything IsFlight of the Conchords – If You’re Into ItJeffrey Lewis – Back When I Was 4 (YouTube Link) You’re Feeling Poppy? – B SideScissors for Lefty – Next to ArgyleThe Sewing Circle – Apparition Over NurembergArt Brut – Pump Up the VolumeBlank Canvas – Contained But Not ControlledOf Montreal – Art Snob Solutions 

(Insert Knitting Pun Here)

November 13, 2007 at 11:05 pm | Posted in Gabe Bullard, shopping, the loop | 1 Comment
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What to choose

I (and many others) have documented the rise in Urban Knitting before. Since my last post, local knitters have gained strength and now they’re giving the community more than warm garments.

Located in the underrated and quickly developing East Delmar Loop, Knitty Couture is an upscale retailer of yarn, needles, books and camaraderie. (The last one is free.) But Thi Miller, the store’s founder, is devoted to more than just making sure urbanite knitters’ yarn baskets are brimming with quality, colorful stock. The store will host knit auctions and other programs to help raise money for neighborhood kids.

“We’re going to knit for kids without toys and warmth,” said Miller, in between manning the register and advising customers. “It’s important to give back.”

Miller also says the shop will make toys, blankets and more for local children.

None of that charity could happen without the shop itself, though. While it’s not the only knit shop in the area, Knitty Couture sets itself apart by catering to all types of knitters. On opening day earlier this month, customers of all ages and genders browsed the boutique, and no one looked out of place.

“I had two little boys in here earlier today,” said Miller. “They both had yarn and needles with them.”

Their enthusiasm wasn’t just youthful exuberance. Miller reported that about 20 people camped out for over three hours before the store opened its doors for the first time. With free pastries laid out, traffic that day remained steady.

“I even managed to sell something,” said Eileen Solomon. A part-time saleswoman and full-time Webster Professor/interview subject.

To find out more about the store, pay them a visit (they’re right across from the Pageant) or, check out their excellent website, complete with a blog.

Used books alert

October 2, 2007 at 3:38 pm | Posted in Books, Matthew Hurst, shopping | 2 Comments
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One more reason to visit your local bookstore instead of relying on Amazon.com – limited time offers that aren’t hidden, but rather put in the forefront.  This week Subterranean Books has a sale on used books: 75% off (all of them). One week only, until this Sunday, October 7th.

Of course St. Louis has a number of great used book stores, many of which sell books currently out of print.  Subterranean is only one of those bookstores, located on the Delmar Loop.  You should probably already have heard about the store, since it just won Best Bookstore (indepdenant) in the RFT’s annual “Best of St. Louis” issue for something like the 5th time in past 7 years.

Of course the used books at this store were already bargains (for the most part), so we suggest paying this sale a visit for that book you’ve eyed up the last couple times but put off until you had more money and time.  You might have the money now, but time only means someone else finds it first.  Finders keepers.

News Flash: Hot sale @ Star Clipper

August 14, 2007 at 3:54 pm | Posted in comics, Matthew Hurst, shopping, summer | 1 Comment

Although you wouldn’t have learned about it reading their blog, we just got notice that Star Clipper is having a one-day 20% sale today, August 14th.  Why?  They seem to think it’s because it’s too damn hot to get us customers in there doors; according to their message –

Come in to Star Clipper today, August 14th, and get 20% off books, comics and magazines! Finally, global warming is paying off!!
There’s no better way to keep cool than with great savings. Just be sure to mention this message! Sorry, not combinable with any other offer.

Could be a good way beat the heat as their site suggests, but those less interested in comics, graphic art, manga, etc available at this UCity mainstay might still try our previous tips out instead.  But for those of you brave enough to fight off a heat index over 100 degrees, we suggest you keep your cool this afternoon inside the store as long as possible.

They Took Your Style, Now They Want Your Soul

August 6, 2007 at 5:17 pm | Posted in Editorial, Gabe Bullard, shopping | 3 Comments
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Remember that sack of shirts you bought for a dollar at your neighbor’s yard sale? Well, by Urban Outfitters’ calculations, you underpaid by hundreds.

Now the company that made looking cheap expensive is doing the same thing they do with faded jeans to visual art.

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That’s right. Urban Outfitters is selling Lomo cameras (better quality ones are available for less on ebay).

But not only can you buy one of these funky, cheap and cool cameras, you can take a bunch of photos of yourself being a hipster and use it to win another one.

I think Lomo photography and vintage clothes are really cool. If you want to get into either, try Goodwill and yard sales. Unless you’d rather be faux-Lomo and pseudo-retro.

Thrift Store Diskettes

July 29, 2007 at 12:24 am | Posted in Matthew Hurst, shopping | 2 Comments
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Because some days you never know what you’ll find at your local thrift store, here’s one of the offerings we found this last Saturday afternoon.  These floppy diskettes, safely enclosed in their original shrink wrapped box, have survived like a time capsule sitting on the shelf of the Salvation Army’s store on the Forest Park Expressway in St Louis.

Should this increasingly rare find inspire you to try a little thrift shopping, consider using this completist’s list of St. Louis thift stores.  And for the more internet enabled among you, we hear Craigslist still has some interesting finds availible as well.

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