Bag Lady and Shopping Siren have each driven down Center Street in Auburn 3 billion times.


It’s the road that delivers us to such enchanted lands as the Auburn Mall and Krispy Kreme. But on our way to buy skinny jeans and doughnuts (one can be both optimistic and hungry), we often speed past shops right there on the strip.

Little storefronts with cool names, such as Extreme Gaming.

Shops that have quietly moved to Center Street, such as Willow Tree Handmade Primitives.

Retailers that we’re certain sell things, but we’re not exactly sure what things. We’re looking at you, Goldworks and Grow Depot.

So this week we stopped — not to smell the roses, but to check out the gold and to see what’s growing and to browse all the places we never think to stop as we race our way through Auburn. Sadly, Extreme Gaming and Willow Tree were closed the day we dropped by, but they’re out there! And we’ll happily stop again.

In the meantime, there’s other Center Street shopping to be done. We have to work off those doughnuts somehow.

• Ice skates, Play It Again Sports, $44.99 ($34.99 kids)

After years of exhaustive personal research, we’ve come up with the Bliss guide to skating: Put on skates, stand, fall down a lot. We’re confident you’ll only need the first two steps. Just in case, we’ll be over here with the bandages and hot chocolate.

12-inch safety softball, Play It Again Sports, $4.99

Start a company softball team and make sure Art from accounting doesn’t lose his teeth! Everyone wins! Well, OK, officially, one team will win, and may it be yours. Safely.

• Bebe sunglasses frames, Eyemart Express, $99.95

Because we see their ads so often, Eyemart Express is one of those places that always hovers on the periphery of our retail consciousness. It’s also one of those places we’ve never, you know, actually stepped one foot inside. Until now!

The shop features a ton of frames for men, women and kids, with what seemed to be multiple sales going on at the same time. (We saw signs for buy a second pair for $10, second pair free with insurance and two pairs starting at $38.71.) While any of the frames could be turned into sunglasses, Shopping Siren was particularly taken with a pair of chunky, light brown Bebe frames with subtle bling along the edge. She would totally buy these. Then totally sit on them in the car. But then totally buy them again.

• Randy Jackson eyewear, Eyemart Express, $89.95

Who knew Randy Jackson had his own eyeglasses line? Not eye. (We’ll pause here for moans and yeah, dawgs!) They’re stylish, certainly look like the frames he’s worn on “American Idol” and come in a number of designs that seem to vary only very slightly by the markings on the temple. So, basically, they all look the same. But in a good, Randy Jackson kind of way.

• Down to Earth bat guano fertilizer, 2 pounds, Grow Depot, $13.39

According to the company’s website, bat guano is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potash. We assume that’s a good thing? We’re sure your plants will tell you if they disagree.

• Hurricane 6-inch clip fan, Grow Depot, $21.09

Clip to your desk at work and let that wind blow! Or, use it to dissipate the smell of the marijuana growing in your garage. Whichever seems more situationally appropriate.

• Diamond double row hoops, Goldworks, $2,700

Goldworks was another of those places we’ve known exists — hello, big black and gold sign — but have never stepped inside. Turns out there are tons to look at, with watches and broaches and necklaces and earrings and, really, pretty much anything wearable and potentially made of gold. Nothing there was particularly subtle, including these earrings, but who wants $2,700 worth of subtly? Ears, meet bling.

• Cameos, Goldworks, $50 and up

Vintage cameos, some very pretty, some alarming enough to make you wonder who the heck modeled for this thing because it clearly was not a human. Great for Mother’s Day! Depending on your mom and her senses of style and humor.

Best find: Disc golf discs, Play It Again Sports, various prices

If you like disc golf — or think you might ever like disc golf — this is the place to go! Play It Again Sports had a whole wall of gently used discs for sale, some of them as low as $8.99, some as high as $17.99. We fell in love with a Champion Wombat disc, not for its heft and size but because it featured a drawing of an angry wombat. You just don’t see that every day. And we kind of want to. So this spring, grab a disc, head out on the course and channel your inner wombat.

Think twice: About skipping Center Street

There’s more to the street than doughnuts.

Bag Lady and Shopping Siren’s true identities are protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who love mud season and all it contains) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].

Down to Earth bat guano fertilizer at Grow Depot, $13.39. Swoop in, pick up, fly on.

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