Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights is a stroller’s dream, dotted with incense-filled import shops, used record depots, and wacky novelty-filled toy stores. Here are a selection of shops from hip to haute.
Arts and Crafts
Knitters and crocheters make journeys short and long to come to this distinctive shop. Inside this charming Victorian house on artsy Larchmere Boulevard is a kaleidoscope of today’s hottest fibers, yarns, and textiles. Shoppers can purchase yarn to go, commission a one-of-a-kind garment, or snag one of the owner’s handcrafted knit fashions. Fine Points (12620 Larchmere Blvd., 216/229-6644; Tues-Sat. 11am-6pm, Sun. noon-5pm) also stocks a full panoply of knitting supplies, including books, patterns, needles, and accessories. Newbies can sign up for an informal class here to learn the ropes, so to speak.
Passport to Peru
Coventry was hippie central in the 1960s, and Passport to Peru (1806 Coventry Rd., 216/932-9783; Mon.-Sat. 11am-8pm, Sun. noon-5pm) is a lasting legacy of those heady times. Incense fills the air and permeates all manner of imported merchandise, from downy alpaca sweaters and hats to trippy-dippy tie-dyes. Long the go-to source for Birkenstocks and Naot sandals, Passport is also a gift-hunter’s best friend. Fine ethnic jewelry, embroidered handbags, wooden wind chimes, and natural skin drums are just a sliver of the hippie-chic schwag on tap. Grab an incense burner and satchel of sticks for the road. It’ll keep fresh the memory of Coventry’s rich past.
Utrecht Art Supplies
Sure, this store is not unique to Cleveland. But when Cleveland Institute of Art students need to stock up on quality art supplies, they come to the Mayfield Road outpost of this great chain. Utrecht (2768 Mayfield Rd., 216/371-3500; Mon.-Fri. 9:30am-7pm, Sat. 10am-6pm, Sun. noon-5pm) carries one of the largest inventories of oil, acrylic, and watercolor paints, plus the canvases, brushes, and easels to go with them. Sculpture artists will find numerous types of clay and stone and the implements to carve them. Simply painting a dorm room? Come here for tapes, straight edges, and templates to get the job done right. Curious about a specific genre? Grab an instructional manual and, perhaps, change your destiny.
Books and Music
Established in 1994, this cozy book nook specializes in children’s and illustrated books, women’s history titles, and art and architecture tomes. Along with these genres, plus popular fiction, shoppers can find used rare books, including leather-bound first editions. Fans of traditional bookstores will adore Loganberry (13015 Larchmere Blvd., 216/795-9800; Mon.-Wed. 10am-6pm, Thurs.-Fri. 10am-8:30pm, Sat. 9am-6pm), which sports warm oriental rugs, wood floors, and row upon row of open shelving. Loganberry’s popular “Stump the Bookseller,” a web service where readers post often-sketchy details in hopes of identifying an old favorite book, has been featured in the New York Times and on NPR. Strong Bindery, an outfit that restores and repairs old books, is on-site.
Mac’s Backs Books
It makes sense that Mac’s (1820 Coventry Rd., 216/321-2665; Mon.-Thurs. 10am-9pm, Fri.-Sat. 10am-10pm, Sun. 11am-8pm) carries works by adult-comic artists like Harvey Pekar and Robert Crumb: Both authors spent formative years tooling around this bohemian neighborhood. This delightfully cramped tri-level shop has an unrivaled selection of literary journals, hard-to-find magazines, classics, and nonfiction. Those looking for a lighter read can pore over thousands of new and used fiction, mystery, and science fiction titles. Equal parts town hall and bookseller, Mac’s is the site of frequent neighborhood meetings, readings, discussions, and workshops.
This Coventry Road institution boasts a basement filled with new and used vinyl and CDs. The underground setting suits the shop to a T considering the place was ground zero for the cultural revolutions that erupted some five decades ago. Vestiges of that counterculture remain today, largely in the form of all manner of smoking paraphernalia, incense, and hippie clothing. Young alternative types visit the main-floor boutique to stock their wardrobes with funky vintage clothing, jewelry, and accessories. Rounding out Record Revolution’s (1832 Coventry Rd., 216/321-7661; Mon.-Sat. 11am-9pm, Sun. noon-7pm) inventory are obscure rock videos, posters, and DVDs.
Gentleman’s Quarters/Frog’s Legs
Style-conscious men and women have been coming to this upscale clothier for some 40 years. Stocking mostly high-end European fashions, the Larchmere store (12807 Larchmere Blvd., 216/229-7083; Tues.-Thurs. 11am-7pm, Fri. 11am-6pm, Sat. 10am-4:30pm) caters less to hipsters than to upwardly mobile hautesters. An in-house tailor will make sure that those new threads from Italy, France, Sweden, and Germany fit like a glove. Frog’s Legs, the women’s accessories shop within GQ, carries custom jewelry, purses, and scarves.
Gift and Home
For those among us who refuse to grow up, Big Fun (1814 Coventry Rd., 216/371-4386; Mon.-Thurs. 11am-8pm, Fri.-Sat. 11am-10pm, Sun. 11am-7pm) offers relief in the form of cool stuff and kinship. It’s hard to not act a wee bit juvenile perusing the over-the-top greeting cards, gag gifts, and campy 1980s TV lunchboxes. Old is new here, with a monster selection of vintage toys, retro candy, and nerd-friendly clothing. Atari T-shirts, Star Wars collectibles, and an entire section devoted The Wizard of Oz (look for the spinning model of Dorothy’s farmhouse) are just some of the things kitsch shoppers will find here. Grab a seat in the old-timey photo booth and leave with a strip of black-and-white memories. Big Fun truly is big fun. There is also a second location in Lakewood.
Follow the Buddha’s teachings and you may buy nothing here but a carved wooden Buddha. But where’s the fun in that? Like a street bazaar airlifted from Indonesia, this fragrant shop deals in imported exotica, mostly from Southeast Asia. Jammed with handmade furniture, hand-carved figurines, hand-painted pottery, and hypnotically beautiful textiles, City Buddha (1807 Coventry Rd., 216/397-5862; Mon.-Thurs. noon-8pm, Fri. noon-9pm, Sat. 11am-9pm, Sun. noon-7pm) makes home design easy, cheap, and fun. What began as an open-air stand over a decade ago is now a bustling Coventry Road shop frequented by hippies, yuppies, and well-heeled travelers. As the Buddha might say, “Fill your mind with compassion, but fill your home with really cool stuff.”
At this smart-dressed storefront shoppers will find a selection of sophisticated yet comfortable furnishings, mostly in traditional, transitional, and modern styles. A full line of carefully chosen lifestyle products and accessories will doubtless brighten one’s home while adding affordable functionality to boot. Come to duoHOME (3479 Fairmount Blvd., 216/651-4411; Mon.-Sat. 10am-5:30pm, Thurs. until 7pm) for DIRT sootless soy candles, stylish ARCHITEC kitchenware, and colorful adjustable scatter tables. The “duo,” by the way, comes from the store’s dual personality as both retail shop and interior design studio, which is run by the owners in the back.
Health and Beauty
Quintana’s Barber Shop
Owner Alex Quintana takes the art—and he does consider it an art—of barbering very seriously. His domain is a charming renovated colonial in Cleveland Heights, divided upstairs and down by his barbershop and his wife’s day spa. Guys looking for a great cut, or possibly a close shave, would do well to book a chair at Quintana’s Barber Shop (2200 S. Taylor Rd., 216/321-7889; Tues.-Thurs. 8am-8pm, Fri. 8am-6pm, Sat. 8am-4pm). Look for the spinning barber pole, then head inside for a cup of hot coffee, a stack of great mags, and a pleasantly masculine environment. Call the same number to book a massage, facial, or waxing.
Indie-minded parents who like to sidestep the big-box chains love this small homegrown toy shop. Like the other four Northeast Ohio locations, the Shaker Square outpost is best known for educational and classic toys. Playmatters (13214 Shaker Sq., 216/752-3595; Mon.-Sat. 10am-6pm, Sun. noon-5pm) holds its own against the giants by offering high-quality products and great customer service. Replacing the sea of plastic play palaces are nontoxic wooden toys, snuggly plushies, and hard-to-find retro games. Thanks to plenty of hands-on displays and fully functional models, kids have just as much fun shopping as they do buying. But Playmatters’ tagline is “Toys that teach, challenge, and inspire,” so you know you’ll find a million new ways to enlighten the little ones.
Notwithstanding the name, this Coventry Road shop features a cornucopia of both dog and cat paraphernalia. Coventry Cats (1810 Coventry Rd., 216/321-3033; Mon.-Sat. 10:30am-8pm, Sun. noon-5pm) doesn’t stock live animals, but they do carry a fine selection of holistic pet food, toys, clothing, and bedding. Deck out your pooch in a new collar, some winter booties, maybe the latest Halloween costume. Jewish or not, your feline will look sharp in a stylish yarmulke. If he or she deserves it, buy your kitty friend a stash of fresh catnip and a cat-friendly video to groove on, featuring frolicking mice, birds, and squirrels. Good dogs get meaty rawhides, annoying squeaky toys, and fresh-baked goodies.
Vintage and Antiques
Heide Rivchun Conservation Studios
This Larchmere shop has a dual identity. It is the site of owner Heide Rivchun’s renowned furniture conservation and restoration business, and it is the storefront where she displays her wonderful collection of antiques for sale. Stocking fine furniture largely from the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as striking architectural items, Heide Rivchun Conservation Studios (12702 Larchmere Blvd., 216/231-1003; Mon.-Fri. 9am-5pm, Sat. 10am-4pm) is popular with designers, decorators, and informed homeowners. Old globes, full fireplace mantels, stained-glass windows, portly earthenware casks—these are just some of the unique items on hand.
Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon Cleveland.