Movies! The Store

Okay, cue that movie trailer voice-over guy...In a world where Netflix and dollar-a-day DVD kiosks seemingly rule the world, one man has the guts to open an independent video store and actually interact with customers. All right, we just had to get that out of our system. The first time we walked into Movies!, owner Rob Arcos greeted us with a smile and an encyclopedic knowledge of movies. And the second time, he remembered us — he asked us how we liked our rentals and then suggested a few others, which we promptly watched, and which of course kicked ass. He's also asked us if there were movies we'd like him to add to the inventory – basically, the dude is a ninja in the fading art of customer service. Movies are his passion, and opening an indie store in this day and age was a big risk. We're grateful he took it.

The Way We Wore

Like going through a dead person's closet, a trip through this dank, overstuffed resale mecca is both slightly unsettling and morbidly fascinating. Most of the digs are so dated even the hipsters wouldn't dare to try and pull them off — glittery space boots, flower-power clothes-traptions, blue tuxes, furry vests, Hunter Thompson-esque vacation shirts. There are surely salvageable items buried somewhere, but the place is mostly a history lesson on woebegone fashion, and a place to buy costumes — self-styled, or the actual (and similarly dated) ones available to rent or own in the back room, which include giant bunny, Barney and chipmunk furry suits, a slice of pizza, and Space Ghost. Bonus points for the speaker-lined egg-chair and working Weltron radio, though, sadly, neither is for sale.

Black Dog Records

The name on the building isn't just a nod to the epic Zeppelin riffer; there's an actual black Labrador in the back room snoozing while his owners hold court for Houston's vinyl lovers. The little store located on South Shepherd caters to the classic rock vinyl fetishist, with a collection of Beatles and Stones memorabilia that would make your dad beam. At Black Dog you'll also get a complimentary rock history lesson, as co-owner Cliff more than likely has a story for every record in the store.

Mister Car Wash

You can get a cheaper wash at Mister Car Wash, but the $19.49 package is worth it for the number the place does on your car. It's a full-service wash — inside and out — that leaves your ride shimmering clean and, almost more important, spot-free. There's a quasi-gift shop inside, and with all the aromatic candles and cards, it's the perfect place to pick up a Mother's Day gift or anything last minute. You can also snack on the free popcorn while you get your shoes shined, and the glass wall is a big hit with the kids, who watch the cars get soaped up, scrubbed and rinsed. And the best part: If your car gets dirty in the 24 hours after you leave Mister Car Wash, you can take it back for a freebie wash.

Collectors Firearms

Chances are, if you buy a lot of guns, you probably have a favorite gun shop, but even if you do, you'll be doing yourself a favor by checking out Collectors Firearms. The place is stocked full of any pistol, rifle or shotgun you could want and a whole bunch that you probably didn't know existed. If you're the militia type, the store has assault rifles that could push back the IRS. Going for the kingpin look? There are enough engraved .45's and 9 mm's to outfit the Gulf Cartel. And, of course, it's not called Collectors Firearms for nothing: There are a couple pistols that could get you an E series Benz (with the V-8) and at least one Colt revolver that would buy you a two-bedroom in the Heights. Seriously.

Best Of Houston®

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