Best Place to Buy CDs 2022 | Zia Records | Goods & Services | Phoenix
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From Coil to Carly Rae Jepsen, there's something for all tastes in Zia Records' dense stacks of CDs. Zia stocks plenty of new discs, but where the chain particularly shines is in its vast selection of used items. Zia's Valley locations are treasure troves of cheap popular releases and deep cuts. Zia offers cash and store credit for CDs, so there's usually a pretty good flow of new stock trickling into their stores, and the staff has pretty high standards for used disc conditions and won't put anything on their shelves that's too scratched or scuffed. Genre representation is also quite strong: If you're looking for jazz or metal or hip-hop, they have dedicated sections packed with interesting titles. You want Santana and Rob Thomas's "Smooth" single for a couple of bucks? No problem. How about albums by Phoenix world music/noise weirdos The Sun City Girls? You just may be in luck, buddy.

Where have generations of Phoenix musicians gone to buy their instruments? That would be Milano Music in downtown Mesa, which has been around since 1946. Whether your newly minted band kid needs his first clarinet or you're a veteran rocker looking for a fresh axe, Milano has brand-name options in a variety of price points. Not sure your middle school student is going to stick with the violin? Milano offers rental instruments for low monthly payments, and insurance is included, so if your daughter's flute is damaged in an unfortunate school bus incident, you're completely covered. For professionals, Milano carries every instrument you'd find in a symphony orchestra or a rock band, plus the accessories you need to keep them working in good condition. And if you're just getting started in music, Milano can help with that, too; they offer lessons for all ages.

Typewriters are a perfect ode to analog — a way to eliminate notifications, distractions, and get to writing. Bill Wahl recognizes this need, and for the last 70 years, his family has owned Mesa Typewriter Exchange. Opened in 1949, it's been a mainstay in the downtown Mesa area. And just when typewriters seem like a thing of the past, people have become interested in reliving nostalgia with the sound and feel of something they used as when they were younger. The shop is a museum of sorts, with typewriters from every decade lining the shelves. The vintage technology appeals to collectors, writers, and even younger generations who want to try typing on the device. Of course, writers gravitate toward the typewriters because they want to get away from screens and the constant stream of stimuli on their computers. Living in the past isn't always a bad thing.

The ease and discretion of ordering, ahem, certain personal products online can't be denied. But there's something to be said for visiting a store where you can check out the goods in person. At local chain Groove, you've got everything you want for a pleasurable evening solo or with others: lingerie, condoms, books, lube, sex toys, BDSM gear, bachelorette party merch, and way more. The atmosphere is sexy, not seedy, and the helpful staff won't hover but are more than happy to answer questions and give suggestions. With four Valley locations, you're never far away from what you need for a good time.

Imagine this: it's 11 p.m. on a Saturday night, and you're smack-dab in the middle of a night of boozy reveling in Old Town Scottsdale when it hits you. Oh shit, I need a smoke. Whether you're coming from Bevvy or Boondocks, Hi-Life Smoke & Vapor isn't far away. Both Scottsdale locations of Hi-Life have the best selection of artisanal glass pipes, disposable vapes, hookah supplies, and other smoking accessories. Whether you're pining after a nectar collector in the shape of a sprinkled doughnut or a bong that looks like Mickey Mouse, Hi-Life has displays for days. The service is great, too, and you even get a free vape on your first visit.

We don't care for pigeons. But parakeets and parrots? That's another story. Birds and Then Some in north Phoenix is a pet store that specializes in domestic handfed baby birds. The bright, clean shop is stocked with well-cared-for birds and everything you need to keep them happy, healthy, and entertained. Depending on the day, they've got zebra finches, cockatiels, canaries, and caiques, plus cages, perches, food, and a delightful selection of toys. The staff are devoted bird-lovers and want to send you home with the right pet for you. And even polite looky-loos who just want to enjoy seeing the selection of birds at the store are welcome.

Whether you're a law-enforcement professional, a forensics student, or you just really like watching Law & Order, you'll love Crime Scene. The shop's focus is providing forensic supplies to law-enforcement agencies and schools, but the public can buy the same gear that the pros do. That includes crime scene tape, fingerprint kits, blood-detecting equipment, and even body bags. For fans of true crime and police shows, Crime Scene sells activity kits in which participants use forensic evidence to solve an imaginary murder, as well as gift bundles full of toe tags, evidence bags, and more. The store even sells jackets that say Forensics on the back, but don't try to use them to impersonate a professional — you want to be the one solving crimes, not committing them.

What do you get for the person who has everything? Perhaps a sheep's brain in a jar? Okay, maybe not, but Curious Nature is the place to get items you can't find anywhere else in Phoenix. The self-described "fine natural history emporium" sells macabre, rare, and fascinating goods. The dark little shop looks like the study of a mad scientist. It's filled with artfully displayed insect specimens in frames, skeleton stickers, books on the occult, jewelry made out of animal bones — you get the idea. And the store isn't just for buying things; they offer classes in art, taxidermy, reading tea leaves, and more. Curious Nature is set to move into a larger space on Seventh Avenue next year, and we can't wait to see how their offerings will expand.

Every time a new Jurassic Park movie comes out, interest in dinosaurs spikes. But dinos are always top of mind at Tyrannostorus, one of the coolest little shops in town. The Mesa boutique stocks real fossils and pieces of dinosaur bone, plus a fun selection of science-type goods. Think replicas of Egyptian canopic jars, authentic meteorites, space-themed games, and crystal-growing kits. And of course, there's plenty of dinosaur-themed items, from purses, hats, and stuffed animals to books, bath bombs, and replicas of claws. We never get tired of browsing the store and marveling at the merch. A visit to Tyrannostorus is sure to thrill science nerds of all ages. Best Cactus Merch

As longtime desert-dwellers, it's been fascinating to watch the cactus become a popular motif in the past couple of years. We've always been proud of our saguaros, our prickly pears, and our organ pipes, and we show off our love for desert flora with goods from Frances. The perenially popular central Phoenix shop celebrated its 15th anniversary last year, and cactus-themed items are among its most beloved products. Frances sells cactus stickers, cactus earrings, cactus T-shirts — even cactus baby toys. Everything is stylish and fairly priced, making the merch both a great gift idea and stuff we'd be happy to take home for ourselves.

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