Goods & Services

Writers’ picks

Cowboy Comb entrepreneurs Brian Lee (left) and Chad Nelson show off their new mustache wax and the collectible, $100 gold-plated comb.

Cowboy Comb entrepreneurs Brian Lee (left) and Chad Nelson show off their new mustache wax and the collectible, $100 gold-plated comb.


Best store to get spendy

Scout Living

These days we’re on a pretty tight budget, but it never hurts to window-shop—which is why we love browsing through Scout Living, the new Midtown space specializing in vintage home furniture and décor. The shop is bright and airy and neatly laid out with an emphasis on sleek midcentury modern design and nostalgic knickknacks. Sure, it’s gonna take some awfully deep pockets to afford goods like that enormous industrial Mad Men-styled desk. (It’s big enough to use as a bed, but costs more than all of your monthly bills and mortgage payment combined.) We can still drool in admiration. 1215 18th Street, (916) 594-7971, R.L.

Best auto fixer upper

Tom’s Automotive Service

Honestly, it’s a chore to find an auto-repair shop that doesn’t rip you off, whether you’re a woman or a man. (Remember when a Car Talk radio show caller named Ryan was talked into getting an unnecessary and emasculating “engine shampoo?”) Tom’s Automotive Service is upfront about broke-down rides, and they’re nice about it, too. Go to Tom’s to avoid another surly, dishonest mechanic who wants to clean out your wallet, lather, rinse and repeat. 730 Q Street, (916) 448-7000. S.

Best way to afford a growing comic book habit

Sacramento Public Library

Comics are fantastically entertaining, but they aren’t cheap. The Scott Pilgrim box set can set you back $72. The price for the entire Walking Dead series—which is still being written—can easily top $100, even when compiled into more affordable hardbound anthologies. And boning up on X-Men history? You could empty your savings and never buy it all. Why not visit and have these titles delivered to your local branch for free? The library doesn’t stock every character in the Marvel or DC universes, but they can school you on the basics and supply seminal graphic novels by artists like Adrian Tomine, Daniel Clowes, Lynda Barry and Craig Thompson. Save your pennies for the new Wolverine and the X-Men series that debuts next month. B.C.

Best locally made arts and crafts

Midtown Bazaar

Yes, there’s a website called Etsy. But unless the product you’re buying has a great photograph or two, it’s hard to tell what you’ll get. Enter Midtown Bazaar. There, you can eat a DavePops popsicle, take your dog for a walk, and see, touch and smell crafts from dozens of vendors. The Midtown Bazaar group sets up every Second Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. If you have a good imagination, you can pretend you’re shopping while vacationing somewhere in Eurasia. WEAVE Parking Lot at 19th and K streets, (916) 317-6017, J.M.

Best place to rehab your digs

Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Dilemma: Your home is in desperate need of a remodel but your Martha Stewart tastes must survive on a thrift-store budget. That’s why we love Habitat for Humanity ReStore. It’s a thrift store, yes, but one that’s stocked like a treasure chest with affordable tile and carpeting, doors and windows, lumber and tools, appliances and collectibles. Prices are super cheap—$20 for a French door, for example—and the selection is updated regularly. For a small fee, you can also donate your own unwanted goods—gently used and in good condition, of course. 8351 Umbria Avenue, Building 5; (916) 440-1215; R.L.

Best place to get bowled over

Oto’s Marketplace

A bowl as appetizing to the eye as the meal it contains is worth dishing a little extra cash for. But the bowls at Oto’s Marketplace aren’t actually much of a splurge—most are five bucks, more or less. The dishware is so pretty, it seems like a shame to dirty it with food. Fill the divinely round, brightly colored, floral-patterned container with miso, or the smooth, glazed earth-toned bowl with rice and satiate all your senses at once. 4990 Freeport Boulevard, (916) 424-2398, S.

Best neighborhood hardware store

East Sacramento Hardware

Looking for a little throwback charm and a salesman who actually knows his bolts from his nuts? Check out East Sacramento Hardware, the store with the art deco facade on Folsom Boulevard. The store includes tons of handy items, helpful staff and such retro charm as an old-fashioned soda machine. As one customer said in the store recently, “Nothing says ‘neighborhood hardware store’ like East Sac Hardware: friendly and helpful characters behind the counter, a really well-stocked and wide-ranging choice of merchandise, and an environment that’s totally easy to navigate around in.” 4800 Folsom Boulevard, (916) 457-7558. H.B.

John Worden (left) and Matt Mertens transformed an old Sam’s Club into Sacramento’s best indoor bazaar, the 108,000-square-foot ShopSmart.


Best indoor bazaar open six days a week


It’s certainly not a new idea. Go to any big city, and you’ll find something like it: San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza, Seattle’s Pike Place and Cleveland’s West Side Market are great examples of indoor bazaars. We have a long way to go before we get there, but ShopSmart is a good start. You can find everything from electronics to clothing and food in the former Sam’s Club building, and on the cheap, too. 7660 Stockton Boulevard, (916) 599-7181, J.M.

Best Kickstarter success story

Cowboy Comb

Watching people scrape for Kickstarter donations to fund fledgling business ventures can be stressful, which is why Cowboy Comb’s runaway success was a joy to behold. Brian Lee and Chad Nelson invented a mustache comb, built a prototype, and logged onto Kickstarter in May to try and raise $4,000 to start a business. In 30 days, they attracted 396 backers and exceeded their goal by $1,358. Three months later, the duo is selling three combs (basic black, feminine pink and gold-plated) and their own mustache wax online and at various retail outlets. They’ve also partnered with the American Mustache Institute to host events for facial-hair enthusiasts. In one summer, they’ve put Sacramento’s hairy subculture on the map. Sacramento: city of the ’stache. B.C.

Best source for cute things, insanely cheap

Thrift Center Thrift Store

Sacramento is home to a million-and-one thrift stores, including plenty of roomy ones with acres of well-organized merch. And yet we can’t stay away from Thrift Center Thrift Store, a tiny bargain oasis tucked away in the nether regions of Del Paso Boulevard. The shop is usually loud, crowded, cramped and poorly organized—but that’s part of the charm. If you navigate its narrow aisles, there are treasures to be had. Recent scores include a 1970s buttery soft leather jacket ($2.99), two oversized orange Fiestaware platters (89 cents each) and a bright blue vintage sundress in perfect condition ($1.99). Even better: It seems like every other day the entire store is on sale, which means the prices—already insanely cheap—plummet into a steep, ridiculous decline. 2501 Del Paso Boulevard, (916) 920-0374. R.L.