Archives for posts with tag: shopping

20140812_125320Whatever I expected upon driving into the little country town of Wendell, N.C., to visit a shop specializing in banjos, this was not it.

Entering a nondescript store marked “Zepp Country Music” on the main drag of Wendell, I found myself surrounded by banjos. Lots of banjos.

20140812_12281120140812_122826“Well, what did you expect?” you ask. “It’s a banjo shop.”

Zepp Country Music, Inc. is a banjo shop, sure. But it’s not just any banjo shop. Zepp Country Music, Inc., is the banjo shop, one of just a handful of businesses in the world that truly specialize in banjos.

I stared in awe. I’d never seen so many banjos. Here, on a Tues. afternoon, I counted 75 banjos on display. That number doesn’t even count the ones stored in the back! Ask yourself seriously: Have you ever seen that many banjos in one place (other than at Wide Open Bluegrass, presented by PNC and Bluegrass Ramble).

20140812_122739Since only a small percentage of the world’s population plays the banjo, and here I was in the instrument’s Valhalla, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn that it’s run by a former entomology professor at Cornell University.

Since the age of eight, Donald Zepp knew his calling was entomology, the study of insects. But in 1961, he started plucking on a banjo just in time for college. The resulting love affair created an internal rift.

20140812_123501“I managed to flunk out of my freshman year of college because I didn’t bother to go to classes or to take any exams,” Zepp said. “What I was doing instead was playing the banjo.”

After a miserable year working construction, a local music shop hired him to give guitar and banjo lessons. It was 1964 and the folk boom raged.

“I was pretty successful,” Zepp reminisced. “Within a matter of months, I had more students on my schedule than anyone had ever had at one time. I had over 60 people a week.”

Zepp learned to balance his passion for music with school work, eventually earning his Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Missouri in 1976.

He embarked upon a long career in entomology, teaching at Cornell and, later, marketing insecticides as well as heading research and development on them.

When he realized the negative effect his workplace stressors and job hopping had on his family, Zepp retired from the entomology field. In 1997, he purchased a generic music store in Wendell with the intention of turning it into a banjo shop. In 1998, he opened Zepp Country Music, Inc.

20140812_122856Zepp Country Music, Inc. carries all things acoustic. No pick-ups, no amps, nothing electric. You can have your pick of about any banjo on the market, though the store specializes in open back banjos. Guitars, mandolins and a cellos dot the shelves. Also, you’ll find strings, tabs, picks, heads, instructional videos and cases. Zepp repairs banjos and does minor guitar work too.

20140812_122923On Mon. evenings from 7-10pm, Zepp Country Music, Inc., hosts an open bluegrass jam. Anyone who can play is welcome to sit in. Zepp emphasized that it’s a “bluegrass jam” and not an “old time jam,” though he appreciates each style. A bluegrass jam features a group of musicians who play a backup tune while a soloist carries the melody. The soloist then “passes the break” to the next musician in line, and that musician picks up the melody. In an old time jam, everyone plays together, one great jam that spreads the focus among the group.

20140812_122753Zepp Country Music, Inc.’s, show room is located at 4 E. 3rd St. in downtown Wendell. Open Mon.-Fri., 11am-6pm, and Sat., 10am-5pm. Banjo lessons are available Tues. and Thurs.

Raleigh’s Crabtree Valley Mall is not only one of the best places to shop for children’s clothes in the area, but it’s also home to several stores that make your kids beg to go to this premier mall that offers shoppers more than 200 stores, dozens of restaurants and valet parking.

Crabtree Valley Mall is home to Greater Raleigh’s only Disney, LEGO, and Build-A-Bear Workshop stores.

Build A Bear Workshop in RaleighThat’s right. Raleigh is home to the stores that our kids dream about nightly.

Many parents, myself included, have promised trips to these three stores following a great report card, or after filling up a reward chart for good behavior. And sometimes you go just to see the smile on your children’s faces.

Making a new friend at Build-A-Bear Workshop was on my daughter’s summer wish list. We had a fun outing with some of her best friends to make that happen.

At Build-A-Bear, children can pick out a new best friend, give it a heart, pick out character and personality traits and choose just the perfect amount of stuffing for hugs.

Build A Bear Workshop in Raleigh at Crabtree Valley Mall Build-A-Bear Workshop has something for every parent’s budget. Basic bear building starts around $12. Some small animals are already stuffed for under $10.

For our outing, I set a budget of $25, and she chose Rarity, a My Little Pony. Animal clothing and accessories are extra. I imagine I’ll be heading back for those items during the holidays.

Build A Bear at Crabtree Valley Mall Crabtree Valley Mall is open daily and has an impressive selection of items for children under one roof. No matter if you’re looking for shops with everyday essentials like kid’s clothing, kid’s shoes or kid’s eyewear or a great toy store for the perfect gift, you will find it there. For a complete list of stores at Crabtree Valley Mall, visit the store directory.

Crabtree Valley Mall is located at 4325 Glenwood Ave. in Raleigh. There are numerous hotels in the midtown Raleigh area, so you can shop even longer. Crabtree Valley Mall is located about six miles from downtown Raleigh.

See you at Crabtree Valley Mall this fall and winter. Get that holiday shopping list done early.

Follow Leigh Hines on Twitter and Facebook, or visit her blog here:HinesSightBlog.

After 12 years of traveling the world and big-city living, Nora Duran knew she wanted to return to her hometown of Garner to raise her family.

Kennedy&Grace Boutique in Garner “It just made sense for me to come home and open a business here,” Duran told me as I stumbled upon her store for the first time. During a routine cleaning, my dental hygienist recommended Duran’s store when I told her I needed a cute teacher’s gift.

Kennedy & Grace, named after Duran’s three-year-old daughter, has been open a little over a year. She caters to stylish moms in southwest Greater Raleigh who love the fact that they can pop in the store easily to see what’s new, even with a child in tow, after a quick trip to the grocery store on their way home. And with the store being less than 15 minutes away from downtown Raleigh and I-40, visitors to the area can easily experience the small-town charm of Garner, home of American Idol winner Scotty McCreery.

Resort Wear at Kennedy&Grace in GarnerDuran likes to stock her store with products from Southern designers, many of which are local. Custom monogramming is done locally in Garner, and a local designer also makes custom bow ties for the gentlemen. A local designer also creates the acrylic necklaces.

Bow-ties at Kennedy&Grace in GarnerKennedy & Grace offers personal styling, and with affordable pricing, ladies can usually walk away with two or three things for under $100. It’s certainly big-city fashion with small-town prices.

I purchased two great beach thermal totes for my daughter’s preschool teachers, and they loved them.

Cute Beach Totes at Kennedy Grace They will be stylin’ at the beach this summer, and you will, too. The signature style at Kennedy & Grace is resort chic.

Resort Wear at Kennedy&Grace in GarnerWith the area being so close to the coast, resort wear is a hot trend in the summer time.

Kennedy & Grace is located in Aversboro Square in Garner. Nearby is the adorable coffee shop, Aversboro Coffee, with a huge selection of coffee drinks. I tried the Almond Joy one, and it was pure joy.

The Aversboro Restaurant and Sports Bar is also Kennedy & Grace’s neighbor. It is open for lunch and dinner.

I don’t know about you, but grabbing a coffee and getting a new outfit or necklace in the same day is my kind of day.

Jewelry at Kennedy&Grace in Garner

See you in Garner.

Follow Leigh Powell Hines on Twitter and Facebook, or visit her blog here: HinesSightBlog

Kennedy & Grace

1411 Aversboro Rd., Ste. 109
Garner, N.C. 27529

(Closed on Sun.)

With sunglasses on and a cup of Joe in hand, many enjoy spending their Sat. and Sun. bargain hunting at local flea markets. Whether you’re looking for that Babe Ruth card or Barbie you traded away as a kid, are hankering for a piece of homemade fudge or food truck eats or just want to get out of the house and rummage through timeless treasures, Greater Raleigh flea markets likely have that special something you’re looking for.

flea_market_logoThe Raleigh Flea Market at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds has been an area tradition since the early 1970s. The family-friendly atmosphere draws 1os of 1,000s of shoppers every weekend. Showcasing more than 1,000 vendors–both indoors and out–it is open to the public each Sat. and Sun. (except during the run of the N.C. State Fair in Oct.), rain or shine, and offers everything from antiques and collectibles to handicrafts, furniture, homemade goodies, clothing and jewelry. A new Tues. market is also available, outside only on the Hillsborough St. parking lot from 9am-6pm.

P1160125P1160126aAn article in Indy Week probably described it greatly: “In any 20-foot radius you can browse cast-iron barn ornaments, power tools, 10-packs of bras, hand-knitted hats and scarves, antique jewelry and rocking chairs made entirely of woven saplings. America’s treasure and junk is here for the picking—if you’ve got a little green in your wallet.”

P1160122And with the largest selection of antiques, jewelry and furniture in North Carolina, the Raleigh Flea Market remains one of the area’s top year-round tourist destinations, drawing 2.4 million visitors annually according to the Triangle Business Journal.

P1160133Back in ‘71, the Stewart family founded the Raleigh Flea Market at its current location with a mere six tables and just a handful of vendors. Today Marshall Stewart III, one of the original creators, has returned as manager with plans to add fun attractions, delicious food options and even more great vendors. The market offers free admission and free parking.

P1160121Raleigh Flea Market; 1025 Blue Ridge Rd.; Raleigh 27607.

The Raleigh Flea Market Mall boasts an average weekend attendance of 12,000 visitors. This 85,000-square-foot heated and air conditioned “mall” has now grown so large (approximately 200 vendors) that it spills out into the parking lot.

P1160120This market features antiques, collectibles, memorabilia, collectible glassware, jewelry, self defense tools, knife sharpening, leatherworks, new merchandise, sportswear, electronics, videos and computer parts, housewares, formal/pageant wear and loads of fresh produce. Great deals can be made with very welcoming dealers.

P1160117P1160118Open for business each Sat. and Sun., 7am-dark. Free admission and free parking.

Raleigh Flea Market Mall; 1924 Capital Blvd.; Raleigh 27614.

Every weekend, more than 5,000 shoppers frequent the 150 dealers of Watson’s Flea Market. Featuring new and used merchandise, antiques, collectibles, coins, vintage clothing, jewelry and purses, sunglasses, belt buckles, furniture, electronics and cleaning and office supplies.

watsons1The taco trucks and other food vendors are said to be awesome. Weekend hours: 6am-6pm (outdoors); 8am-5pm (indoors). $2 admission, ample parking.

Watson’s Flea Market; 1436 Rock Quarry Rd.; Raleigh 27610.

Check them out!

Written by Free Spirit, Kristy Stevenson (who can be a Creative Genius, Fashionista or Lifelong Learner, depending upon the day of the week). Follow her online.

With a cool playground on-site, Waverly Place in Cary offers kids the chance to get some energy out after dining at one of the shopping center’s numerous restaurants.

Waverly Place ConcertsI love all the restaurants at Waverly Place, but my children especially love the child’s feast at Taziki’s Mediterranean Café, which includes grilled chicken, rice, fruit and a kid’s drink for $4.75.

After dinner, we either splurge on a cupcake at Gigi’s Cupcakes, Italian gelato at Fresca Café and Gelato or frozen yogurt with as many toppings as your cup will hold at Menchies. I’m partial to Fresca Café and Gelato because I love to sit outside and enjoy a cappuccino and pastry while the kids play.

Cafe FrescaThe shopping center’s main play structure includes a slide and climbing structures in an enclosed area with benches for the parents. There is a separate enclosed area for infants and tots.

And if you really want to spoil your little ones, Tré Nail Spa offers children’s services in an adorable bear chair. My daughter wants to get her nails done just so she can sit in the chair. A polish change for kids runs $6 for hands and $8 for feet.

Spa fun at Tre Nail SpaFor 10 weeks in late spring and summer, Waverly Place hosts Wind Down Wednesdays, an outdoor concert series on the promenade adjacent to the kid’s playground. From 6-9pm, you can enjoy a free concert featuring a wide genre of music. Beverages and food can be bought on-site. This year’s concert series will run from May 28 through July 30.

Waverly PlaceSummer is going to be fun in Cary, N.C. See you there.

Waverly Place
Corner of Tryon Rd. and Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, N.C.

Follow Leigh on Twitter and Facebook, or visit her blog here: HinesSightBlog.

Are you a savvy shopper? Greater Raleigh offers many options for designer looks at consignor prices. But unlike the children’s event reported on last month, this post is all about the ladies (and sometimes even the gents). If you’re ready to get your shop on while saving money on designer clothing, furniture, housewares and decorating elements, here’s a helpful list of “can’t miss” consignment and re-sale haunts in the Raleigh area.

1. Designer Consignors: their slogan is “One Stop. One Weekend. One Fabulous Wardrobe.” Ladies, update your look with trendy clothing, handbags, jewelry, accessories, shoes and home décor. Each item is carefully screened to provide the best selection. Earn cash on the spring/summer items in your home or closet, or find a steal on something hip and new! Clothing: choose from brands like Tahari, Misook, Larry Levine, Gucci and Prada, as well as gently used items from finer department stores in women’s and juniors sizes 0-3x. Décor: furniture, window treatments, mirrors, headboards, antiques and household trimmings. Next event is Mar. 13-15 in the former Jump Zone location, High House Crossing Shopping Center, 2723 Hwy. 55, Cary. Product drive donations will be collected for InterAct.

10370128676_2b6718a9002. Nora and Nicky’s: A designer resale and consignment shop with locations in downtown and North Raleigh. The store specializes in the latest seasonal luxury consignment with beautiful items arriving daily and invite you to “Build Your Dream Wardrobe.” Shop for designer and contemporary labels like Kate Spade, RED Valentino and Diane von Furstenberg in handbags, shoes, clothing and accessories, sizes 0-16. Donations of any unsold items benefit Dress for Success of the Triangle and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle.

IMG_31763. Uptown Cheapskate: A teen and young adult fashion exchange, buying and selling new and like-new name brand clothing and accessories for both guys and girls at crazy low prices. With locations in Raleigh and Apex, it features top trends like metallics, ombre gradual color fades, patterns, boots and blazers. Clothing, accessories, handbags and shoes.

4. Bargain Box: As one of the Junior League of Raleigh’s major fundraisers, this Cameron Village shop sells high quality, second hand merchandise: a new-looking suit for that special occasion, children’s clothes for starting school, housewares and more. The League’s focus on caring means offering much-needed items at greatly reduced prices. In addition, the store donates thousands of Bargain Buck voucher dollars to agencies serving those in need in Wake County.

5. Soho Consignments: “Fine furnishings for the sophisticated home.” A 5,000-plus-square-foot showroom featuring furniture and accessories from personal homes, estates, decorators, model homes and company overstocks. So whether you’re looking for furnishings and embellishments (college students, merging households, redecorating or remodeling) or the inspiration for great decorating ideas, check out the Raleigh store.

Home Furniture Stores Raleigh NC: Resource for Decorating Ideas6. Dress: A Raleigh upscale boutique offering a blend of new clothing and accessories, designer resale, boutique overstock and a ‘dress Luxe’ line of ultra luxury couture resale. Dress helps clients put together fresh and fashionable outfits at a great value. Dress Luxe features designers such as Chanel, Ella Moss and Stella McCartney–often at a fraction of the retail cost and with the original tags attached.

7. My Girlfriend’s Closet: “Savvy Chic Resale” in Apex and Cary boutiques. Offering high quality women’s consignment clothing in sizes 00-3x–juniors, misses and women’s plus–along with shoes, accessories, jewelry, designer bags, colorful luggage and fashionable décor. Brands include Ann Taylor, Lilly Pulitzer, Michael Kors and Manolo Blahnik (among others) plus items from finer department stores. Personal shopping and styling consulting services available.

mgc8. Classic Clothiers: Small Cary shop dedicated to stylish comfort for all ages. Vintage to designer finds including J. Crew, Banana Republic, Chico’s, Possibilities and Michael Stars. A selection of cute shoes, belts, handbags and jewelry makes this storefront a real find. 124 SW Maynard Rd.

9. ADORE: With an assortment of women’s and juniors clothing and accessories, ADORE Designer Resale Boutiques in Raleigh and Cary bring samples, overstocks and resale to their own affordable and hip atmosphere. The stores introduced many ‘consignment beginners’ to the wonders of fashion, quality and bargains. Designer handbags are some of the very best sellers: Coach, Cole Haan and Louis Vuitton. And they’ll soon have an online shop for unique vintage, designer and couture pieces and vintage collective jewelry.

10. Eclectic Furniture Garden: A unique boutique offering painted, used and consignment furniture – indoor and outdoor – one-of-a-kind gifts, garden and home accents, jewelry and hand-made items from local artisans. New furniture arriving daily. This family owned business also does custom painting and interior design consulting.

1116208_10151770575606950_104142711_oWritten by Kristy Stevenson. Follow her online.

If you’re searching for a gift that is truly unique, your best bests are antique and thrift shops. It’s all about the thrill of the hunt as you sift through timeless pieces that have long been separated from their replicas, if there were any to begin with. Whether you’re searching for furniture, collectibles, or anything in between, you’re bound to find it in one of Greater Raleigh’s antique and thrift shops.

For fine, hand-picked English and French antiques and accessories, make a visit to Acquisitions Ltd. in Raleigh. Here, you’ll find a wide selection of beautiful antiques and direct imports that will be very difficult, if not impossible, to find anywhere near.

If you love vintage designer apparel, you can find it at Dress on Glenwood Avenue. While this consignment boutique carries a mix of vintage and modern designer clothes, you’ll find both at bargain prices. You’ll also find designer labels and brands that you won’t find anywhere else in the area.

GC5 Vintage and Gifts in Wake Forest has a diverse collection of handbags, jewelry, collectibles, antiques, and retro and vintage furniture. If you can’t find a great gift here for every member of your family, then you probably aren’t shopping hard enough!

Visit this site for a comprehensive list of antiques and thrift shops in the Raleigh area. Pick out your favorites and plan ahead for a shopping trip that’s as successful as it is fun!

Do you wait until the last minute to find Christmas presents? Do you dread trekking out into the holiday shopping frenzy once December rolls around? Whether Christmas shopping is a pain or a delight, you can get it done early and all in one place this year at A Shopping Spree!, presented by the Junior League of Raleigh.

Head to the Raleigh Convention Center Nov. 3rd – 6th to do some serious holiday shopping that is fast and convenient and also benefits the local Junior League. With books, children’s clothing and gifts, holiday decorations, home interior, jewelry, women’s and men’s clothing and accessories, and specialty items galore, you are sure to find a special present for everyone on your list, and maybe even something for yourself!

Special events during A Shopping Spree! include a Preview Gala on Nov. 2nd that will feature private shopping, hors d’oeuvres, and the opportunity to win fabulous prizes from Bailey’s Fine Jewelry. Friday Night Fashion on Nov. 4this perfect for a girls’ night out, complete with special guest David Meister, goodie bags, a champagne reception, and a fashion show presented by Saks Fifth Avenue.

Special event tickets range from $15 to $50, and four-day general admission tickets are only $10 each. For more information and to see a list of exhibitors, visit this site.

Fashionistas love a great deal. Whether it’s 50% off those strappy heels you’ve been eyeing or a discounted massage package to help you unwind after an intense day of shopping, all of you Fashionistas out there are sure to enjoy the deal as much as what you actually bought. Lucky for you, Greater Raleigh is a hub of great shopping and dozens of wonderful spas offering deals to complement your stay.

If shopping is your main priority during your visit, then you’ll love the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown’s Midtown Max Deal. For a great price, you’ll get a quality room, complimentary shuttle to and from the North Hills shopping center, breakfast for two at Lofton’s, and a $25 VISA gift card to use at your favorite store. Shopping packages with gift cards for  nearby shopping centers are also available at Hilton Garden Inn near Triangle Town Center, Residence Inn by Marriott near Crabtree Valley, and Fairfield Inn and Suites, just to name a few.

Hotels often provide beauty and relaxation packages as well, which you can find here. If your significant other has tagged along on your shopping trip, impress them with the Courtyard by Marriott near Triangle Town Center’s Romance Package.

For a comprehensive list of other great deals to make your Fashionista visit to Greater Raleigh even more fabulous, visit this site.

So one day during the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you realize you need something: a fun weekend getaway with the girls. Whether you’re a mother looking for some relaxation, a young crowd looking to have fun, or even a bachelorette party looking to celebrate before a wedding, you’ll find plenty of fun things to do in Greater Raleigh.

No matter your age, occupation, or lifestyle, there’s one thing every girl can enjoy, and that’s being pampered at a relaxing day spa. There are dozens upon dozens of spas, med spas, and salons where you and your fellow ladies can indulge in everything from massages and body wraps to highlights and manicures.

A group of ladies can’t go wrong with a little retail therapy. After you’ve relaxed at a spa, head over to any of the major shopping centers in the area for boutiques you won’t find anywhere else, and for stores that you’ll only find again hours away.  Choose from Cameron Village, Triangle Town Center, Crabtree Valley Mall, North Hills, and so much more.

For a nightlife experience that will be fun and sophisticated, have a drink at one of the many lounges or bars in the area. It doesn’t matter what part of town you’re in, this comprehensive list will help you find the venue for you.

For even more fun activities such as performances, comedy shows, dining options and more, go to This will be one weekend you’ll all enjoy!


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