St. Louis’ Best Shops
Best Gift Store: There are dozens of wonderful gift shops in St. Louis, with items ranging from the elegant to the quirky. But it’s Plowsharing Crafts’ (6271 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314/863-3723, www.plowsharing.org Mon.–Fri. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.) mission that makes it doubly wonderful; the money spent here goes directly back to artisans in developing nations.
Best Independent Bookstore: Left Bank Books (399 N. Euclid Ave., 314/367-6731, www.left-bank.com, Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–6 p.m.) is a St. Louis landmark, and with good reason. Not only does this lovely shop carry the best in literary fiction and creative nonfiction, it also has an excellent used-book selection, hard-to-find periodicals, and a schedule of author readings that rivals those in far bigger cities. Say hello to the resident cat, who likes to nap in front of Social Sciences.
Best Music Store: Vintage Vinyl (6610 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314/721-4096, www.vintagevinyl.com, Sun.–Thurs. 10 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 10 a.m.–midnight) is staffed by music lovers; these guys and gals know music up and down, and they can make some great recommendations. Be diligent when searching the CD racks, as local music journalists and DJs frequently offload parts of their collections here.
Best Women’s Boutique: Ziezo (6394 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314/752-9602, Mon.–Thurs. 11 a.m.–8 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Sun. noon–6 p.m.) is paradise for the woman with great fashion sense and a little cash to burn. This Loop boutique keeps pace with the latest fashions without ever drifting into trendy impracticality.
Best Furniture and Home Decor: Good Works (6323 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314/726-2233, www.goodworksfurniture4u.com, Mon.–Thurs. 11 a.m.–8 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.–6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Sun. 1–5 p.m.) is in the Delmar Loop, on the very same street where Charles Eames has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame. That’s some nice synergy, as Good Works sells modern, often minimalist furniture undoubtedly inspired by Eames (but at a fraction of the price).
Best Shop for the Home Chef: Kitchen Conservatory (8021 Clayton Rd., Clayton, 314/862-2665, www.kitchenconservatory.com, Mon.–Sat. 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. noon–4 p.m.) provides everything a great home chef could ever desire, from All-Clad pots to Emile Henry ceramic Dutch ovens.
Best Kids’ Store: If you’re tired of Barney, Elmo, and all of their sing-songy comrades, head to City Sprouts. (6354 Delmar Blvd., University City,314/726-9611, www.citysprouts.com, Mon.–Thurs. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 10 a.m.–8 p.m., Sun. noon–5 p.m.) This adorable Loop shop sells beautiful wooden toys, classic illustrated books, and too-cute-for-words baby duds.
Best Place to Pamper Your Pet: Want a tiny plush Porsche for your kitten to nap in? Need a wee Cardinals jersey for your bichon frise? Head to Lola and Penelope’s (7742 Forsyth Blvd., Clayton, 314/863-5652, www.lolaandpenelopes.com, Mon.–Fri. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. noon–4 p.m.). If your pet is traveling with you, make sure to treat her to a pawdicure.
Best Aromatherapy: Cassie Buell’s Central West End shop, the eponymous Cassie’s Fragrance Boutique and Scent Bar (316 N. Euclid Ave., 314/454-1010, www.cassiesscents.com, Mon.–Thurs. 10:30 a.m.–6 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 10:30 a.m.–8 p.m., Sun. noon–5 p.m.), is an olfactory treat. Customize your own perfume or body wash with the dozens of scents available at Cassie’s, or treat yourself to an Earthly Body’s Suntouched soy candle — it burns down into warm massage oil.
© Brooke S. Foster from Moon St. Louis, 1st Edition