There was a time when head shops were pretty much about one thing: drug paraphernalia. Then came the war on drugs. Some head shops folded; others diversified. When Jay Work, owner of Grateful J's Dead Head Shop, opened his store, he took the latter approach. His five-year-old business offers body piercing at its Margate location and glass-blowing lessons at the Boca Raton branch. A selection of colorful glass pipes is available at both joints -- "sold as art and not intended for smoking," of course -- along with other accessories meant for use "with tobacco only." J's also offers the requisite incense and T-shirts, as well as a smattering of "adult toys" and a full line of licensed Grateful Dead products. But what really sets his operation apart from others of its ilk in SoFla, says Work, is the tape exchange. "We're the only store that gives away music," he explains. Take in a blank tape, choose from the huge inventory of live Dead shows (dating back to 1965, and all authorized for reproduction by Grateful Dead Productions), and J's will copy it for you.

Whole Foods Market
Yeah, it's a chain. But at least it's a chain of health food stores, as oxymoronic as that notion might seem. Indeed the quirky nature of South Florida capitalism has dictated that the store with the best selection of health food, prepared meals, and offbeat products (soy Bisquick, for example) is a virtual monopoly. Whole Foods stores -- despite their membership in a 75-store national corporation -- do a wonderful job offering an array of designer protein powders, organic produce, premade tofu sandwiches, frozen fake meat, and other vegetarian staples. Some of Whole Foods' bigger locations even boast smoothie bars, eateries, and aisle upon aisle of soy creations. Leftist principles aside Whole Foods will expertly satisfy even the most granola-loving South Floridians.
You could take your hard-earned cash to Sawgrass Mills or any other mall for that matter and spend it outfitting the tykes. You could also wad it up and throw it in the crapper. As far as we're concerned, it's about the same thing. The fact is that kids outgrow clothes so fast that buying brand-new, name-brand stuff for them is a sure way to spend yourself into the poor house. And the clothes they don't outgrow, they'll refuse to wear because the styles have changed. We recommend you bypass the whole retail mess and shop Think Thrift, Broward County's premier secondhand store. It has racks of kids' clothes organized by article and sex, and most of it looks barely used. You'll find shorts, shirts, pants, and even shoes for less than five bucks. You can pick up a good winter jacket for $10 or so, about right given the few times you'll need it around here; and you can buy baby sleeping gear for less than a buck.
Let's say you need an impertinent little Cretan wine to entertain some visiting Greeks -- say, a 1998 bottle of Kretikos white. You can find it for just $10.99 at 67 Wine & Spirits, along with vino from such places as Israel, Hungary, Transylvania, and Georgia (the former Soviet republic, not the state). Did we mention that 67 also carries an enormous selection of wines from France, Italy, Australia, and the United States, as well as a full six shelves of sherries and ports? From high-end offerings (a 1994 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac for $219.99) to run-of-the-vineyard fare (the ones with twist-off tops), you'll find them at this jam-packed little store. The store also has an equally diverse selection of liquors, along with gourmet items, prepared foods, and even a tiny cigar room. Three other 67 locations in Broward and Palm Beach counties offer comparable goods, but we prefer the one on Federal for the perverse thrill that comes from buying forbidden fruit just a few feet from the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, headquarters of the ultraconservative Rev. James D. Kennedy.
You have to admire the salesmen at R.S. Lords. Surrounded by thousands of suits and sport jackets, they gracefully put up with a sweltering climate that makes wearing a suit and tie tantamount to death by smothering. That's not to mention casual Fridays and beachfolks' aversion to anything that ain't shorts cum flip-flops. But persevere they do, with all the dignity of a double-breasted jacket. Weather and fashion fads notwithstanding, all men sooner or later must don a suit for a wedding, funeral, bar mitzvah, job interview, or a mother's satisfaction. When your day comes, you can't go wrong with this one-of-a-kind store that imports a large selection of Italian suits and offers on-site tailoring and alterations. Whether nature made you tall, short, or portly, Lords carries your size at a reasonable price -- how about an Italian suit at $199? If that's not enough, salesmen Art, Artie, and Kenny take great pride in guessing a customer's size before whipping out a tape measure.
Other people's misfortune is your felicity at National Pawn & Jewelry. And judging by the inventory at this vast warehouse of all things pawned, a lot of people are in need of quick cash around here. On a recent visit, this shop had everything from chop saws to scuba tanks, bicycles to go-karts, vacuum cleaners to fax machines. It had dozens of guitars, hundreds of cameras, scores of stereos, and a jewelry section bigger than most gem stores. We even found a couple thousand CDs from which to choose, priced at $5.95 each or $4.95 if you buy ten or more. (We can't imagine who was desperate enough to pawn his Kiss collection.) Last time we stopped in, we were impressed to see a vintage Harley-Davidson for sale. Perhaps the previous owner needed bail money. Who knows? Who cares? It's all here, the store guarantees what it sells, and the prices are pretty good.

Busy Sunrise Boulevard might seem an unlikely place to find Serenity, but that's part of the charm of this cozy day spa. Open in the evenings, the spa makes it easy to find time for a little peace. It even issues an order for bliss: "No cell phones," declares a sign at the door. The walls are the color of daffodils; the scent of Aveda oils wafts through the air. Sink into a comfy chair tucked into a cubby space while the affable, black-clad staff pampers your feet. Try not to think about your to-do list, because too soon your perfected feet will be back in action. This moment will be a memory. In fact maybe Serenity should put up another sign: "Relax. No Multitasking."
Ever wander into the pet aisle of your local grocer and want to eat the treats? Well, you might get the urge to do so at Bone Appétit, which smells like cookies rather than decomposing pig ears. Mouthwatering, home-baked goodies for dogs fill silver trays in a glass display case; kitty-cat treats boast real salmon and come in flavors such as seafood gumbo. You also might find yourself wanting to sleep atop the pet chaises, sofas, and daybeds for sale. Upholstered in your choice of various fine materials, they cost as much as $465. That's right -- more than what many of us pay for human furniture. And the Bark & Bath shampoos and conditioners are comparable to human salon products in content, not to mention price. More-practical owners can check out the cute neckerchiefs and eye-catching toys, as well as gifts that really are for people. Why should pets have all the fun?

Ever walk into a pet peddler, wander into the back room, and feel you've entered the cantina scene from the original Star Wars movie? That's what you'll get at this joint -- enough bizarre fauna to transform a Kitty Litter run into a scintillating journey. Take the red tegu, a two-foot-long rusty-red lizardish creature; its limbs are in constant swimming motion (alas, he's kept in sand), and his whipping tongue is as busy as a politico's jaw on the campaign trail. At nearly $300 you'd have to be a tegu fanatic to take him home, but he's an alluring inmate to visit. Not far from Mr. Tegu is an albino Pac-Man, a froggish soul best compared to a raw omelet with eyes. The Chinese water dragons are fluorescent green and proudly show off their footlong tails. More conventional animal companions -- kitties, puppies, and cockatiels -- are situated near the store's entrance and, craftily, in the front picture window. Owners Robert and Patricia Kesselman keep enough pet food, cages, aquariums, and supplies on hand for whatever, or whomever, you adopt.
Before the good lord calls you home, make sure you go see Ricky Williams at Community Monument & Casket Company. Williams can save you some big bucks from his small store. Not that you'll care, you'll be dead. But think about your loved ones. With the money they don't spend on your casket -- Williams can lay you out in a 20-gauge steel number for $550 compared to $2000 or more from a funeral home -- the family can throw a really nice party. You know, get the top-shelf liquor instead of the cheap stuff, hire a band, do it up right. If none of the ten or so boxes on display appeals to you, Williams can special-order one that will arrive in 24 hours. He's been selling containers for your earthly remains since 1989, so you can rest assured he knows the business.

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