After being closed for most of March, Spy Headquarters has reopened on Northern Avenue. The store sold a variety of surveillance, security, and self-defense items for more than two decades and was recently remodeled.
Unfortunately, the new Spy Headquarters store layout and inventory is disappointing, especially for people who visited SH in its previous incarnation.
There's a lot more open space in the store now. The walls to the back room were knocked down, so the store is one big room, and most of the display cases are gone. The middle of the room, which once housed several displays and book racks, has been cleaned out.
All the remodeling has given SH more space, but eliminated much of its former inventory.
Spy Headquarters used to sell a variety of stickers and patches (faux security, military, etc.). Now, they have none. The store's stock also used to include a sizable rack of books about everything from Arizona gun laws to assassination; now, the book stock is limited to a rack of $5.00 Underground Reports pamphlets, including "How to Make Vomit Gas," "How to Create a New Identity," and "What's It Like to Be Raped in Prison?" T
They probably make interesting reading, but aren't as useful as the books on wilderness survival that Spy Headquarters used to carry.
Though they've downsized their book inventory and seemingly eliminated their stickers and patches, the remodeled Spy Headquarters has added a few things.
For example, there are now twice as many safes for sale as there used to be -- safes that look like cans of dog food, books, and surge protectors. There are also more knives and stun guns in stock than before, and even a "ninja anchor" for rappelling.
The alarm inventory has also grown, and now includes individual magnet window alarms and several different types of alarmed motion sensors. The video camera selection has also grown, and includes a "dummy" model camera now (for people who want to give the appearance they have surveillance, but can't or won't actually pay for it). But the coolest thing we saw in the new stock was a functioning ink pen that includes a hidden digital voice recorder.
Now that's something we could use a lot more than a pamphlet titled "What's It Like to Be Raped in Prison?"
Spy Headquarters is located at 1235 E. Northern Avenue. Call 602-371-0988 for more information.
Niki has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and PHOENIX magazine, and is now a full-time freelancer.