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Friday, January 7, 2011

Neighborhood businesses you should frequent

1. Your cobbler. I have a cobbler in walking distance and she and I are on first-name basis. If you have special shoe needs - perhaps your feet are as wide as Yetti's? Ahem - your cobbler can help. Cobblers can:
- Stretch leather shoes to fit: widen the toe box, raise the instep.
- Add arch support
- Re-heel worn dress shoes
- Lighten running shoes (including adjusting heel padding): a good cobbler will remove foam and reattach the outersole without affecting the balance of the shoe; if your shoes do not match within a couple of millimeters your gate will be affected so use a cobbler you trust.
- Repair non-shoe items like luggage, purses, saddles, and belts. Mine has replaced broken clasps and straps as well.
2. Your used book store. Most will work out a trade with you: You can bring in books you've read and swap them for "new" ones. By the way, a gift certificate to a used book store is a fantastic gift.
3. Your consignment shop. Slightly more upscale than the Salvation Army, clothing swaps or consignment stores can be a good source for pricey designer clothes or a specific brand. Banana Republic no longer makes their Ryan style pants (my favorite), but the owner of a consignment store nearby has promised to keep her eyes open for my size. She's found two of my favorite pairs, and both cost less than $10.
4. Your pharmacy. Definitely bring your pharmacist fresh coffee and the occasional King cake.* It will pay off when you have a UTI at 9 pm on a Friday and your pharmacist willingly gets yelled at by hunting your doctor down at his daughter's deb party so he can be (forced) to call in a prescription for you. Or just if you have the kind of health question that is complicated and time-consuming, but you want a professional to do a little research for you. Just how common are blood-disorders in people taking Zantac over the counter?
5. The farmer's market. Make friends with the vendors. They might give you some extra produce or day-old bread for French toast. They might also save the last Boston lettuce for you if you tell them you might be running late.
6. The running store. They may not have the lowest prices, but they have the most expertise and the best answers to your questions. Plus they probably have a bulletin board with upcoming events; they might have a running group; some have free seminars and training. Go hang out there, it smells like new shoes.
* I'm working tonight. I'd appreciate a snack. 


  1. I do need to buy from the local running store more because it's a local business. Once I get a pair of shoes that work I tend to order online though since it's cheaper...

    BUT I am looking to get some trail shoes AND possibly new road shoes so I will be hitting up my local running store soon!

  2. I love used book stores. Cobblers are great too. Heck, your whole list is great.

  3. I love our local running stores - we're lucky enough to have two great ones right by me! So helpful, and so nice!

  4. I love my local running store - they have a database and if you are in their database, you get 20% off your shoe purchase, which is nice! And they send out 30% off coupons twice a year. Love it.

    Funny story - I once told some co-workers I had to go to the cobbler over my lunch break. They had no idea what I was talking about! I always wear the tips off my heals so get them replaced multiple times. Saves me money since it's cheap to replace those tips!