If you are a lover of paper goods, Frances is a pleasantly satisfying place to stop. From adorable, small-press paper goods — think notebooks, journals, stationery, packs of thank-you notes — to a handpicked selection of clever cards (including some by local artists), owner Georganne Bryant always seems to have our number. She has a knack for picking out items with just the right amount of whimsy and cool.
If, however, you are in need of paper goods for a more DIY purpose, your best bet is Arizona Art Supply. With everything from corrugated paper in a rainbow of colors to roll-paper by the foot, matboard, watercolor paper, archival paper, and black all-purpose sketchbooks, this is the place.
If you are looking for bulk, Kelly Paper is a good go-to source. You'll find boxes of announcements, panel cards, folding cards, business cards by the box, and reams of fine paper. If you're feeling crafty and looking to buy single sheets of unique scrapbooking paper and supplies, hit up Melrose Vintage. — Sativa Peterson
Frances: 10 W. Camelback Road, 602-279-5467, francessmeeks.com
Arizona Art Supply: 4025 N. 16th St., 602-264-9514, arizonaartsupply.com
Kelly Paper: 1302 W. Indian School Road, 602-241-0581, kellypaper.com
Melrose Vintage: 4238 N. 7th Ave., 602-636-0300, shopmelrosevintage.com
What? You haven't heard of Sweet Salvage? You are in for a treat. There is something so right about this formula: Take a four-day shopping event, add a fresh theme and fresh merchandise each and every month, and you end up with an intoxicating elixir of something hard to come by in the retail world — anticipation. In an era when people can shop virtually around the clock, Sweet Salvage builds excitement by not always being available. You have to mark your calendar for it, plan a lunch break around it. And that makes it special. Combine that with the fact that you never know what you might find, because each month has a different design focus, and it's hard to resist. Kim Rawlins and Katie Hibbs and their staff set up beautiful vignettes to display everything, and the energy they put into it is palpable. It's like the perfect shopping cocktail, open the third Thursday through Sunday of every month with good prices on revamped and repurposed furniture, refurbished gems, accessories, and one-of-a-kinds.
If you are looking for a good selection of kitschy wall art, vintage kitchen dishware, and Pyrex, Cheap Thrills 2 can't be beat. And as a bonus, the original Cheap Thrills is next door and filled with a spectacular selection of costume jewelry, neatly arranged vintage clothing (including a men's section), shoes, and way-friendly service. Also in the double-your-shopping-pleasure category is Zinnia's at Melrose, a big warehouse of a place with nearly 40 vendors, and the super-sweet vintage clothing shop Antique Sugar tucked in the back in its own enclosed space. On every third Thursday, everything is 20 percent off. For modern with an irreverent twist of punk sensibility, we like Retro Ranch's selection of furniture, art, accessories, and clothes. — Sativa Peterson
Sweet Salvage: 4809 N. 7th Ave., 602-279-2996, sweetsalvage.net
Cheap Thrills/Cheap Thrills 2: 2536-40 E. Indian School Road, 602-944-2542, shopcheapthrill.com
Zinnias at Melrose: 724 W. Indian School Road, 602-264-4166, zinniasatmelrose.blogspot.com
Antique Sugar: 724 W. Indian School Road, 602-277-5765
Retro Ranch: 4303 N. 7th Avenue, 602-297-1971, retroranch.net
There are plenty of excuses for retail therapy, and luckily, there's plenty of treatment available downtown.
You can't miss the local ceramics, embroidery, and print collection at MADE, or the jewelry and treasures at GROWop, Nostra, and Butter Toast (they're easy to find, and nestled near one another on Sixth Street).
A little farther west on Roosevelt, you can't miss Greenhaus' exterior paint job or interior finds, including furniture, buttons, and paintings by local artists.
And, of course, if you're in need of the latest Missoni fabrics or textures from Azzedine Alaia and Zandra Rhodes, you'll want to make a beeline for Vintage by Misty. And a visit to Rachel Malloy at Bunky Boutique across from the Phoenix Art Museum always makes us feel better. — Claire Lawton
MADE: 922 N. 5th St, 602-256-6233, madephx.com
GROWop: 902 N. 6th St.
Nostra: 906 N. 6th St., 602-296-4421
Butter Toast: 908 N. 6th St, 602-258-3458, buttertoastboutique.com
Greenhaus: 222 E. Roosevelt St., 602-257-4287, greenHAUSphx.com
Vintage by Misty: 818 N. Central Ave., 602-707-6235, vintagebymisty.com
Bunky Boutique: 1437 N. 1st St., 602-252-1323, bunkyboutique.com
Downtown is a mecca for indie elitists, audiophiles, and vinyl fiends alike, as three of the Valley's better record stores beckon them across town with all manner of scores and hard-to-find music gems. The venerated Tracks in Wax, opened in 1983, is a crate-digger's paradise and treasure trove of rarities, obscura, and out-of-print platters in every genre and format possible, from rare 45s by Dusty Payne to Killdozer seven-inchers. Flipping through bins also is common at Revolver Records, where patrons hunt through 25,000 new and used LPs and thousands of CDs, all of which are painstakingly categorized into subgenres only music nerds would appreciate. Its owners tend to stock more weirdo, avant-garde, and unknown artists, so prepare to see names you won't recognize. Ditto for Stinkweeds, as the Medlock Plaza boutique offers early-adopters albums and discs by indie and underground artists that Pitchfork hasn't had a chance to tear apart, as well as a chance to nab such music-oriented ephemera as the latest issue of TapeOp or a limited-edition Frank Kozik poster. — Benjamin Leatherman
Revolver Records: 918 N. 2nd St., 602-795-4980, revolveraz.com
Tracks in Wax: 4741 N. Central Ave., 602-274-2660, tracksinwax.com
Stinkweeds: 12 W. Camelback Rd., 602-248-9461, stinkweeds.com
Screw the Kindles and iPads of the world. As fancy as such devices might seem, downloading The Hunger Games or American Sniper can't replicate the simple joy of an afternoon spent in a cozy bookstore. Like, say, the quaint Lawn Gnome Books, run by word nerds Aaron Johnson and Ernesto Moncada. The colorful shelves of the two-room bungalow sport paint that's barely dry, as it only opened last month, but are overloaded with used copies of popular potboilers and tearjerkers, as well as fanzines and works by local scribes like Logan Mosier. Titles tend to fly off the shelves on First Friday, so come early (or check out the modest selection of artsy and edgy paperbacks across the street at MADE.) The floorspace is a bit larger at the homey Bards Books, as is the selection. Thousands of tomes are arranged from floor to ceiling along a maze-like series of aisles, with substantial sections devoted to art, architecture, and cooking. Just don't think about shoplifting, as the register is guarded by an "attack goldfish" named Bardot. — Benjamin Leatherman
Lawn Gnome Books: 901 N. 5th St., 602-721-9175, lawngnomepublishing.com
Bards Books: 3508 N. 7th St., 602-274-7530, bardsbooks.com
MADE: 922 N. 5th St., 602-256-6233, madephx.com
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