Best Of 2019

Next year Shake It Records will be old enough to buy beer, but this year marks the momentous landmark of two decades in business. Recognized as one of the best record shops in the freakin’ world, Shake It has done much to put Cincinnati on the map of cities driven by music. Co-founded and co-owned by brothers Jim and Darren Blase, Shake It first opened its doors in Northside in 1999; two years later — on, of all dates, Sept. 11, 2001 — the store moved into its current location at 4156 Hamilton Ave. Shake It — which, along with used and new vinyl and CDs, also stocks an eclectic mix of books, magazines, T-shirts and various tchotchkes and other esoterica — began as a record label. Jess Hirbe and Daryl “Doc” Kalmus founded the Shake It label in the late ’70s to release music by Cincinnati-area artists like The Customs. Darren — the “Sam Phillips of Cincinnati” — revived it (with the founders’ blessing) in 1993, releasing a 7-inch single by Cincy Garage Rock greats The Mortals. The Shake It label is still a thriving indie imprint, home to one of the area’s most acclaimed bands, Wussy, and also an outlet for ambitious reissue projects for long out-of-print local classics. Shake It, the store, is also home to a permanent exhibit dedicated to the region’s music scene. Shake It Records, 4156 Hamilton Ave., Northside, shakeitrecords.com.

Shops & Services


2. TriHealth Fitness & Health Pavilion

3. Tiny Needle Community Acupuncture

2. Wooden Nickel Antiques

3. Wild Things Antiques

Lynne & Lucille artist Kelli Fisher has been “making almost nothings into pretty somethings” since 2013. A transplant from Columbus, Ohio, Fisher specializes in jewelry crafted from the retired gear of local musicians. “I’ve always been a huge fan of music but have never been able to grasp the concept of actually playing it,” she says, “so making jewelry from recycled (and) unusable music materials and instruments is the way I have found to make my own version of music.” Check out her Etsy shop for necklaces and earrings made from shaped guitar strings and polished cymbal segments. She also utilizes hand-tooled leather and, occasionally, remains of the natural world: dig her popular rattlesnake vertebrae hoop earrings and African porcupine quill bar necklace. Lynne & Lucille, etsy.com/shop/lynneandlucille.

2. Cincinnati Art Museum

3. Silk Road Textiles

2. Michaels

3. Indigo Hippo

The fact that Continuum has held its own on Vine Street in OTR since 2015 is a prime example of the fact that Cincinnati is home to many humans who are interested in innovative, experimental and individual fashion. Shop owner Ericka Leighton is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning with a passion for embracing creativity and creating a space for others to explore their own, whether they’re makers or shoppers. Recently name-checked in Vogue, the shop’s entire vibe — from the neon pink logo to hanging plants and Vaporwave meets Art Nouveau eclecticism — meets the modern woman at the intersection of aspirational and attainable in style, silhouette and price point. Brands range from Paloma Wool and No 6 to Black Crane and Cold Picnic and run the gamut from boxy tops and 1980s jeans to cult mother apparel. Continuum also carries textiles, candles, jewelry, fragrances and artful publications to round out its lifestyle offerings. Continuum, 1407 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/continuumbazaar.

2. Joseph Toyota of Cincinnati

3. Kings Toyota

2. Courtesy Automotive

3. Joseph Toyota of Cincinnati

2. Donovan’s Auto & Tire Center

3. AAA | Bob Sumerel Tire & Service