The PopCulteer
December 3, 2010

As part of this year’s PopCult Gift Guide we’re going to present our first interactive gift guide entry. Today we’re going to run down, off the top of our heads, some of the local businesses from whom you can purchase gift certificates for the people on your list who like to pick out their own presents. If you’re one of those “hands-on” people, you might even decide to pick out a gift for them yourself, while you’re there.

However, this is just a spontaneous list, so if you know of a local business that offers gift certificates, or just cool stuff, that isn’t listed here, use the comments section to add them yourself! Your PopCulteer can’t know everything, so help us out and join in the fun.

Keep in mind that I’m talking about local merchants, stores that actually mean something. Anyone can buy a gift certificate for a big-box or chain store. Hell, you can duck into Kroger and find gift cards for dozens of merchants and restaurants. Where’s the thought in that? If you patronize a local merchant, you show that you care enough to actually go there, and probably enjoy the store yourself.

But I am writing this very early in the morning, and my omniscience mojo isn’t quite working. Feel free to further enlighten the PopCult readership with your comments about local merchants. I’m going to try to sort these into categories, but we’ll see how that turns out.

Reading Material

We start the list with one of our favorite places in town, Taylor Books.  Located at 226 Capitol Street, a gift card from Taylor’s can be used to purchase books, art, coffer, or even some of Ann Saville’s addictive Tomato Bisque soup.  Taylor Books is open from 7 AM to 8 PM Monday-Thursday, and they’re open until 10 PM on Friday and Saturday. Sunday you can stop in from 9 AM to 5 PM.

I also have to point out two other friends of PopCult who deal in fine readables: The Book Exchange, propriated by Jeff Bukovinsky of No Pants Players fame, has thousands of used and out-of-print books available for low, low prices.  I don’t know if Jeff offers gift certificates, but he should, so you should go bug him until he does. The Book Exchange is located at 1588 Washington St E , on Charleston’s historic East End.

If your tastes lean toward comic books, you can’t go wrong with Lost Legion Games and Comics: The Rifleman, located near Charleston’s historic Five Corners on Charleston’s historic West Side.  This is the place to go in Charleston for all your comic book and gaming needs.

Gullet Stuffage

Charleston has many fine food establishments, and many of them offer gift certificates. This is a way you can treat a friend or loved one to dinner without actually having to sit across the table from them and watch them cram food in their mouth and then gross you out by using the guest check as a toothpick.

With so many fine restaurants in town, I’m just going to list a few that I’m pretty sure offer gift certificates.  If they don’t, they should.

Ellen’s Ice Cream is a literal treat for downtown shoppers.  With loads of unique flavors, along with tasty takes on the classics, Ellen’s is an ice cream lover’s dream. Charleston Bread Company, at 601 Capitol Street, is the best place in town for freshly-baked artisan breads.  I’m not sure if they offer gift certificates, but they should.

The Charleston Bread Company provides many of the rolls and buns used at The Bluegrass Kitchen, one of Charleston’s best dining experiences.  I’m pretty sure they offer gift certificates, and you can probably give the gift of food for Jon and Keely Steele’s other great restaurants–all located near the State Capitol on Washington Street–Tricky Fish and Frutcake.

Driving up Charleston’s historic Bridge Road, you’ll find The Bridge Road Bistro, and Lola’s Pizza, both wonderful dining options who offer gift certificates.

Heading bock Downtown, I think it’s a safe bet that you can purchase gift certificates for the newly-re-opened Blossom, and the much-anticipated Pies And PintsCapitol Roasters is no slouch, either, if you want a good place to grab a cup of Joe and hang out with friends.

I’m sure I’m leaving out loads of other great local restaurants, so please feel free to add on to this in the comments section.

Artsy Giftsy

You can always find a great selection of cool art and wild Atomic Age furniture and artifacts, along with a great array of Blenko Glass, at The Purple Moon, You can also find some great art, and take care of all your framing needs at The Art Emporium.  You can also find some great art and have your framing done at The Art Store in South Hills, and you can find some incredible treasures at Stray Dog Antiques on Hale Street.

Other Cool Gift Certificate Ideas

If you’re shopping for kids, why not try Kid Country Toys, with a location on Bridge Road, and one in the historic Charleston Town Center? If you’re shopping for kids who chain-smoke stogies, drop in to The Squire on Capitol Street for a wide variety of fine legal smokables.

If you want to treat your loved one to some nice grooming, either because they take pride in their appearance, or they really need it, you can get them a day at Visions Day Spa, or treat them to the retro cool of Tops Off Barber Shop.

Finally, over in historic Kanawha City, you can visit (and purchase gift certificates for) Budget Tapes and Records, an institution of cool in the Capitol City for four decades.  In its hallowed hall you will find the latest music on CD, rare vinyl, plus clothing, adult novelties and smoking accessories.

That’s it for this week’s PopCulteer, at least from me.  Now it’s your turn.  I’m sure I missed several cool local businesses that offer gift certificates for the holidays.  Use that comment section and let me, and my readers, know what we’re missing.

The 2010 PopCult Gift Guide continues tomorrow, and will appear every day until December 19.