Best Typewriter Shop 2022 | Mesa Typewriter Exchange | Goods & Services | Phoenix

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.

Our gorgeous winter weather often brings with it out-of-town visitors. We feed them, entertain them, and when it's time for them to buy some souvenirs to take back with them, we show them the goods at Kactus Jock. The two Old Town Scottsdale locations have a wide selection of souvenirs that are fun without being cheesy. Relatives and former roommates have snapped up T-shirts with the official Old Town Scottsdale logo, hot sauces from Cactus Carlos, spring training shot glasses, desert-themed metal art, and plenty of postcards to send home. But Kactus Jock isn't just for tourists. We may arrive with visitors in tow, but we leave with stuff for ourselves, such as Mexican glassware and Arizona-made spice rubs.

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