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Thread: Weird businesses in your area

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Weird businesses in your area

    Tell us about weird businesses in your area. By "weird" I mean:
    • Weird merchandise.
    • Weird decor.
    • Weird employees/owner.
    • Generally weird vibe.
    In the neighborhood I grew up in, there used to be a store that sold ... beer cans and brewerania. From what I remember, the place was open only four days a week, I think Wednesday through Saturday, 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

    In another Buffalo neighborhood, one which went further down the tubes than the place I grew up in, there was a relic of a retailer that was in business until just recently - a fedora store. It's amazing that their business lasted so long after 1960, but apparently they held on. Are there still any real hat stores -- not baseball cap, but old fashioned hat stores -- in business anywhere outside of NYC?

    Buffalo also had several Catholic supply stores; shops that sold nothing but Virgin Mary statues, candles, and other items related to Catholic rituals, apparently for religious do-it-yourselfers.

    There's a store not far from where I live now that sells nothing but air and water purifiers - "The Good Living Store." Whenever I walk by, I never see any customers in the place, but occasioanlly, there will be some sort of meeting or something going on; several folks just sitting in chairs arranged in a circle. That's another category I'd like to add - the business where you never see any customers, yet it's been there forever and you have no idea how they make money.

    A few doors down from the air filter store is a store that sells nothing but parts scrapped from elderly computers; 500 megabyte hard drives, 12" monitors, ISA network cards, ancient AT cases, 5 1/4" floppy drives, and so on ... along with overpriced computers made up from what are apparently the best scrapped parts they get. ($500 for 400 MHz boxes, etc.) The personalities of the employees are along the lines of "Nick Burns: Your Company's Computer Guy" from SNL and "The Comic Book Guy" from the Simpsons.

    Across the street is a gunsmith. I've never seen it open, but apparantly the place is in business.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Cyburbian Jen's avatar
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    How about a huge junk yard and salvage recycling operation in the middle of a state game/conservation area? Been there since '47, a whole valley of junked auto parts in the heart of the Cannonsburg state game area.

  3. #3
    I the city of , we have a "run-down" section of town were the land value is low, and were all the bums hang out. There is one building were it really shows.

    there is 4 story building, wre the old Eatons used to be. But it shut down, and all that is left of it is a heaping pile of wast. There was a arson fire that destroyed the top floor. The owners that purchased the building just before the blaze, were supposed to clean up the mess. But the didn't, and the city isn't allowed to clean up the eye sore.

    The result is an old run down, partly burned, rotting building. There is squaters who frequently use the building to sleep in, and do drugs and so forth. There is graffiti all over the walls, inside and out. the windows are all broken, they have been covered up, but someone keeps on talking the wood down.

    What i thought was weird about he building is that even before the building was strange. The original building was only one story, but the building was added on to. There was so many add ons, that by the late 90's the building was an eyesore. All those different building styles in one building looked very ugly. in 1986, there was a renovation, or that was what the owners said. But what really was going on was that the building was falling apart because of the extra add-ons, and floors. people mentioned that just prior to the so-called "renovations," the building felt like it was lop-sided. There was one section of the builing were it felt like it was tilted downward, the ceilings were cracked, and there were frequent problems with the plumbing and electrical. After the building was renovated, the owners put the building up for sale. Eatons soon bought it, but the building's apperance didn't change that much. After the company falled, the Eatons store closed out. And what was left was ugly. I don't know why new owners took up the place, maybe they wanted it for something, but they never got the permit.

    I hope the city does something about it, its getting to be a very big problem.

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    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Next door to my old apartment was the Y2K Store – It was an empty storefront painted to say Y2K Store in bubble graffitti letters, but it never opened. Now that its 2003 there’s still no activity. A guy would throw raves all night in the apartment above it.

    Tea House of the Almighty – Anyone near Brockton, MA knows the big Tea House of the Almighty sign on Main Street. From peeking through the window it looks like an always empty Carribean religious bookstore.

    I’ve mentioned the Professional Wrestling School before.

  5. #5
    A place in Milwaukee called "Art Smart's Dart Mart and Juggling Emporium" You can pretty much tell what they sell by the name. They also have disc golf, hackey sacs, frisbees, and other low-key sporting goods.

    Goldmann's - a 50's style department store. Picture the department store from "A Christmas Story." Complete with a lunch counter.

    American Science & Surplus - all kinds of weird stuff from scientific equipment to toys. You can spend hours in here.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    We have a guy in town who deals in Civil War era arms - rifles, muskets, pistols, parts, etc. Unfortunately, his shop is generally not open, as he does most of his business at shows and through the mail. It is an amazing collection.

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    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Hub Cap Haven....

    All hub caps....all the time

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          Downtown's avatar
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    We have Century Taco - a Mexican Takeout/Chinese Bakery.

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    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    I always wonder about the little art galleries in some mid-sized towns. There are towns around 30,000 that are too big and sterile to be cute and touristy, too small to really have a an "art scene" and yet there will often be a gallery in the downtown that gets the occasional customer. We have 50,000 people in our town and I have only seen a few people go into our gallery. I always wonder how these places survive.

  10. #10
    Saw one on the way to the coast last week that had a generally weird combination: Cargo Trailers and Hospital Scrubs. Go figure.
    A word to the wise ain't necessary. It's the stupid ones that need the advice.
    --Bill Cosby

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    It doesn't sound wierd on the surface, but "Shirley's Boutique" is a pretty unique junk/used goods store on the fringe of downtown. What's interesting about it is the fact thaty it steadily spreads along the sidewalks, and the proprietress (sp?), an older, fast-talking woman in her 70s, sets up a series of lawn chairs for local buddies and homeless ne'er do wells. Its quite the scene.

    When I first did code enforcement, we used to try and encourage her to restrain her "outdoor merchandise display," but we've just given up by now

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    hair cut

    There is a place here, we will call it Joe's (but it is some other simple name) were you can get a hair cut and a beer... at the same time. I don't know if he has a permit for any of it, but I don't think any one is going to tell on him.
    If you're not growing, you're dying. - Lou Holtz

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    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Butt Implant Surgeon.

    This falls under the plastic surgery category, but OMG, how stupid is this. It happens to be the new “craze” in Miami. There was a news story about it the other week. They interviewed one lady and she said how much it has “improved” her life.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

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    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    Re: hair cut

    Originally posted by michaelskis
    There is a place here, we will call it Joe's (but it is some other simple name) were you can get a hair cut and a beer... at the same time. I don't know if he has a permit for any of it, but I don't think any one is going to tell on him.
    Are those places uncommon here in Pennsylvania? (Unfortunately I haven't been offered a drink yet) It was pretty common down in Charleston to be offered either wine or beer at the more "posh" places while getting your hair cut. A couple of beers and a head massage...It doesn't get any better.

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Re: Re: hair cut

    Originally posted by biscuit
    Are those places uncommon here in Pennsylvania?
    I have not been here all that long, but it is a first for me.

    Oh that and the strip club that is a bring your own beer. I love it, the barber will serve, but not the strip club.
    If you're not growing, you're dying. - Lou Holtz

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          Downtown's avatar
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    Re: Re: Re: hair cut

    Originally posted by michaelskis


    Oh that and the strip club that is a bring your own beer. I love it, the barber will serve, but not the strip club.

    I just love that those places are not called "Strip Clubs" but "Juice Bars". hee!

  17. #17
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    There is our gun shop and grocery store (see the image gallery)

    The other common thing here is bicycle shop and fireplace/stove store.

    Recently, a few scrapbook stores have opened as home occupations.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

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    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Re: hair cut

    Originally posted by michaelskis
    There is a place here, we will call it Joe's (but it is some other simple name) were you can get a hair cut and a beer... at the same time. I don't know if he has a permit for any of it, but I don't think any one is going to tell on him.
    Where I went to undergrad (Oxford, Miss) there was a barber named “Bonnie the Butcher”, she always had a cooler of free miller lite to drink while you waited.

    Side note. Last time I got my hair cut there was about a year ago (I had friends and family in Oxford so I would visit often even though I have not lived there in about 5 years). Anyway, I called to make and appointment and she asked me to pick up some beer on the way. Instead of pay, I took a free haircut and some shampoos in trade.
    Gotta love the barter system.

    Other side note: She drank the beer too, so you don’t get you haircut after 2 as a rule.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

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    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    Re: Re: Re: Re: hair cut

    Originally posted by Downtown
    I just love that those places are not called "Strip Clubs" but "Juice Bars". hee!
    I had a friend who just returned from Okinawa (sic), Japan where they have Juice Bars and let me tell you, from the way he described it, it's not a place where you'd want to eat the fruit.
    Last edited by biscuit; 09 Jun 2003 at 5:38 PM.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Now that I think of it, there was an ice cream and real estate shop in Escalante, Utah. It is in an old "tastee-freeze" type of building. I've previously mentioned the non-profit ice cream shop in Moab. When I get home I will post a picture of a gas station.

  21. #21
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Oklahoma Joe's Barbecue in Kansas City, Kansas is in a working gas station. Great barbecue, too.

    I forgot about a few places in the neighborhood where I lived during my Denver years, a gentrifying-but-not-quite-there district where the majority of residents were Anglo professionals, but almost all the businesses catered to low income, first-generation Mexican immigrants.

    Down the street from me was a pinata store. Never saw anyone in there, but apparently they did enough business to move a few doors down to a larger location. I also wondered if the market for pinatas among the neighborhood's disappearing Mexican population was enough to really justify such a business.

    A couple of miles from my house, there was a store that specialized in used tires, Mexican-style western wear and Norteno records. The sign just read "Ropa Mexicana Y Used Tires Y Musica Ranchero." Strange.

    Closer to the Denver city line, I wondered how the trashy quick lube and espresso bar joint did.

    The strange thing about the neighborhood was that the amount of businesses catering to Hispanics grew at a steady clip, even as gentrification went on full bore. We're talking new tortillerias, doctors with signs reading "Clinica Mexicana," storefront Pentecostal churches with signage and services entirely in Spanish, and so on, while houses nearby were being plowed under for McMansions, and new neotraditional-style houses on the site of an old amusement park started at $350,000. No Starbucks, no "New American Bistros," no cigar bars. The business districts screamed barrio, while the side streets told another story.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  22. #22
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Originally posted by Dan
    Oklahoma Joe's Barbecue in Kansas City, Kansas is in a working gas station. Great barbecue, too.
    Some of the best BBQ / food comes from working gas stations. Ex: B’s in Oxford Miss. mmmmmmmmmmmmm!
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

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    Member Nemesis's avatar
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    We have a decades old Donut shop that must have been purchased by new immigrants. It now continues selling donuts but added Thai food. Yum... donuts and pad tai. I shudder.

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    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    I think it is in Oneida, ny... Pepe's Pizza and Bridal Shop.. the best part is the big gorilla on the roof.



    in White Plains though... is Nanna's Coffee Shop... with a little white haired lady on the sign.. but the place is run by a buff, bald headed guy with tattoos....serving italian coffees....
    "Yeehaw!" is not a foreign policy

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Reviving an old thread, after passing by this wonderfully strange business several times.

    An honest-to-goodness communist bookstore.

    When I drove by it yesterday, there was a huge sign in the window proclaiming:

    ALL HAIL THE 45TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE PEOPLE'S REVOLUTIONARY CONGRESS!

    The place is always open ... but always empty. They don't have much of an online presence. I'm wondering ... even if it is non-profit, how can they pay the rent? I wonder what kind of business the brick-and-mortar lesbian bookstores back in Buffalo get, too.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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