Sound Exchange

Sound Exchange has been slanging rare and collectible records to Houston's stone-cold junkies for years now. And those junkies have good reason to be repeat customers; the incredibly fresh selection and well-priced bins of '60s psychedelic music and soul are hard to beat. And the two owners are courteous enough — or fiendish enough — to regularly slip you some hip sounds from their secret stash. You'll most likely leave the place as high as can be with a fat sack of vinyl under your arm and a little coin left over in your wallet.

You go to all the trouble of coming up with a catchy business name like "Two Girls and a Broom," and the next thing you know everyone's talking about some hideous YouTube video that sounds very, very similar. You could change, or you could take to heart the words of cubicle-slave Michael Bolton in Office Space: "Why should I change my name? He's the one who sucks." Likewise, Two Girls and a Broom have decided to soldier on with their moniker, providing timely, efficient and friendly cleaning service. They're committed to using "green," environmentally friendly products and getting done as fast as possible. But no, don't ask them if they have a cup.

Penzey's Spices

Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama would surely weep tears of joy upon walking through the door to Penzeys spice shop. Located on the fringe of the Height's über-hip West 19th Street, this cute boutique is a sumptuous ode to the senses. Cinnamons, curries and chilies galore — this place has them all, and more variety than even the most expert chef will know what to do with. Next to the bottles packaged for sale, each spice is kept in a glass jar with a brief write-up about its history, there for your smelling enjoyment. Spice geeks and neophytes alike can spend hours wandering the aisles and reading recipes. There's even a coloring corner for the kids while Mom and Pop relax and breathe it all in.

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