Best Hydroponic Growing Supplies Store

weGrow

WeGrow

With all this talk of medical-marijuana, new grow shops have sprung up in the Valley like seedlings. weGrow's a California transplant, having started with a store in Sacramento before spreading to Phoenix. In January, the franchise opened another location in Washington, D.C. The Phoenix store is huge, inhabiting a former warehouse. The grow lights, bottles of fertilizers and nutrients, and hydroponics trays don't take up the whole space; the store has a large variety of products. Pot patients will appreciate the running marijuana theme at weGrow, from the video games on a TV surrounded by couches to the posters with growing tips, including how drying pot increases its psychoactive compounds. A doctor who writes medical-marijuana recommendations is located in the same building, and farmers markets — which sometimes feature patients exchanging pot with other patients — take place periodically in the parking lot. After the dispensaries open, forcing patients and caregivers to give up their home-grows, many of the Valley's hydro shops will wither and disappear. weGrow seems to be dug in for the long haul.

Jackrabbit Nursery

Somehow, this incredible nursery in West Valley has stayed under the radar for the past 11 years. If you're looking for hearty plants for a front or backyard makeover, the handsome nursery stocks everything you need to spruce up your land, from citrus trees to hip succulents to high-quality fertilizers and seeds. Jackrabbit will even deliver your new green babies and plant them for you if you're afraid (or too lazy) to do it yourself. The family-owned business has more than 30 years' experience working with and caring for Southwest plants. Ask them anything regarding plant care, and they'll know the answer. And if they don't, they'll look it up for you.

Best Antique Shop for Gardening Supplies

Qcumberz

Qcumberz

We didn't know we needed a vintage hand rake until we saw a nicely weathered green one hanging on the wall at Qcumberz, a longtime favorite of local antique fans. We bought it and, as we were leaving, the nice guy behind the counter mentioned that he had several similar rakes and hoes and gardening tools, as well — and suddenly, a new collection was born.

Staring at the ceiling is a good idea at Stuff Antiques, a place that's really all about the best in period lighting. Joe, the owner, clearly is obsessed with fine examples of exceptional period lamps and light fixtures; his place is filled to the rafters with stunning examples of Victorian, Arts and Crafts, Art Deco, and Midcentury Modern pieces. The stuff is pricey (and none of it is priced, which means having to have a conversation with Joe, which is a good thing — he's a blast!), but you won't find a better selection anywhere of fully restored lights and lamps. As much an homage to the history of electric lighting as a shop, Stuff also offers antique furniture and vintage medical cabinets for sale, as well as restoration services. You'll think of Stuff and of Joe every time you flick the switch on the fabulous lamp you bought at this Phoenix perennial.

Antique Trove

We wanted an old claw-foot tub, and we looked in all the usual places. Pretty much every antique dealer rolled his eyes and wrung his hands and sent us away, empty-handed. And then we went to Antique Trove, which lives up to its name, always. Treasures everywhere, and all of it so nicely displayed and lit. This is one of the few antique malls where one can buy not only a gorgeous old wooden tea tray but also the necessary ointments to keep it healthy and well-oiled. It's also the only place in town where we were able to find a claw-foot bathtub — and we were thrilled. The price was right, the nice Trove staff was helpful with suggestions about the best places to buy old-time bathtub hardware, and the delivery price was reasonable. We almost wish we needed another bathtub — but we're happy to return to Trove to plumb its many wonderful dealer spaces for other treasures. Come dig with us!

Best Vintage Furniture Reupholstering

UFO

Universal Furnishings and Offerings (UFO)

We spend a lot of time on our sofa — often fast asleep in front of some '60s rerun marathon. And so every couple of years, we drag the couch down to UFO, where the magic upholstery elves who toil there can work their magic on it. There may be no better or more affordable upholsterer in town, but even if there is, there isn't one that offers such wacky fabric offerings as this fun place. Even better than its keen reupholstery and furniture restoration services are UFO's vintage furniture store and art gallery, up front, filled to the rafter with things (antiques, art by local talent, kitschy new stuff) that owner Leonardo loves, and knows you will, too!

Retro Ranch

Ramie. Baft. Bombazine. We're addicted to reading the labels on vintage clothing, and some of the best label-reading (not to mention shopping) that we've done lately is at Retro Ranch, one of Seventh Avenue's best-known vintage stores. Sure, you can find broadcloth and dungaree at most vintage shops that sell clothing, but what is it about these guys that even their throw pillows are made of decades-old Gloria? Swing coats made of Shaker flannel and midi skirts made of landsdown — nowhere else but at Retro Ranch, baby.

Zinnias at Melrose

We didn't used to own a set of Santa Claus salt-and-pepper shakers or a Frosty the Snowman slushy maker, but we do now, thanks to Zinnias at Melrose, our favorite spot in town for vintage holiday gewgaws and all things Christmas. There, we've seen boxes of 60-year-old Shiny Brite glass tree ornaments stacked alongside mint-in-package tinsel, bags of still-glossy garland strings, and even an ancient card full of brightly painted jingle bells. We bought as much as we could and dragged it all ho-ho-home. Next time we were back at Zinnias, there was even more Christmas stuff, right where we couldn't miss it, just inside the door. It's remained there, year-round — well, most of it, anyway. We keep going back and buying more red-and-green holiday stuff from the '50s and '60s. And you can, too.

Best Antique Shop for Vintage Carnival Chalkware

Antique Centre

Antique Centre

Lots of people go to Scottsdale for its better restaurants and uptown department store shopping, but we go there for plaster Kewpie dolls. Antique Centre is the best place to find vintage carnival chalkware, those oddly painted statues that were given away as prizes at carnival dime-tosses in the '30s and '40s. At Centre, we've scored two 10-inch marching majorettes, a tiny Pinocchio, and a really gigantic Betty Boop. And that's just this year! We've seen a lot of animal chalkware from the '50s here, too, but we're into the dolls and figurative statues, and we never leave Scottsdale's better antique mall without at least one of them.

Last time we were here, we got a Virgin of Guadalupe with a chipped ear and an Infant of Prague whose index fingers were gone. The time before that, we got a plaster Jesus with real vinyl hair. And although we sometimes see religious statues in other thrift stores, this is the only place in town where we always find them — and good ones, too. They may not always be in mint condition, but the prices are so good that we feel blessed. We're on the lookout for another melamine Jesus-on-the-Cross wall plaque, like the one our mom found here last summer. We have faith it'll be here, eventually.

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