Dallas-based Compostmania is quickly becoming a national source, maybe international, for state-of-the-art composting know-how and technology. Where else could you find more than 15 types of composting bins, including a spherical composting bin that looks like something that just landed from Mars? Proprietors Robert L. Olivier and Karl Warkomski are serious and diligent in keeping up with the state of the art in compost, but their site is also welcoming and intuitive for newcomers. Their page includes the following promise, probably not available anywhere else on the Internet: "Whatever your worm bin problem—from foul odor, to excess moisture, to the dreaded 'worm crawl'—these troubleshooting tips will help." When you need guys like this, you really need them.

Elm Street Tattoo

Oliver Peck, the man behind this Deep Ellum tattoo shop, does a lot for this city—far more than he probably gets credit for. The guy throws some of the best parties around, gladly dresses up in drag to perform in some of the city's best tribute bands and earlier this year, he helped California's MusInk Festival, which combines a rock 'n' roll festival with a tattoo convention into one awesome blowout, expand to Fair Park. But the man who kicked Kat Von D to the curb also does something else pretty rad: Every Friday the 13th, he opens up his shop for a 24-hour period and, with his team of artists, bangs out tattoo after tattoo—all with the number 13 contained somewhere within—to a never-ending line of ink junkies looking to score their fixes. And he does so cheaply, too: The tats cost just 20 bucks ($13 plus tax and tip). Wearing one of these designs is like a badge of honor for the customer. And for Peck, it's yet one more chance to break a Guinness Book of World Records mark for most tattoos applied in 24 hours—a mark he already owns, by the way.

Tired of your designer exercise-wear looking ragged and droopy after a long Sunday of fighting the crowds at Whole Foods with your Adorable Spouse and Gifted and Talented Children just so you can pick up the week's whey protein and spinach supply? Make the move from the overrun organic megastore to the underdog, Henderson Street's Newflower Market. The Colorado-based chain's (we know, we know) Dallas outpost has plentiful parking, knowledgeable staff and the affordable high-quality organic goods that help you and your middle-class guilt sleep at night. The good sushi's still there after 5 p.m., and like the Newflower-branded staples like olive oil, vinegar and canned veggies, it's available for a fraction of the cost at other high-end grocery stores. What Newflower lacks in sprawl, it makes up for with straightforward, reliable offerings for everyday market trips.

Palm Beach Tan
Palm Beach Tan
Whole Foods
Whole Foods
Bettyann and Jimbo's Junkadoodle

Some things you never knew you needed—that is, until you saw them at Junkadoodle. Once a month during autumn and spring, the whimsical flea market on Lovers Lane just west of Inwood Village turns into a huge block party. Independent retailers rent small spaces in the parking lot and in the front yard of the boutique and try their luck hocking weird artifacts to a slew of curious passersby. Peculiar paintings, sculptures, old furniture, handmade items and vintage bread boxes are easily found among the smorgasbord of stuff. Just be sure to have a good poker face when haggling for a better deal. After all, one man's junk is another man's treasure.

Good Records

Between the kick-ass in-stores, the Music Movie Mondays series and their annual Record Store Day blowout, Good Records would probably win this award even if it only stocked records that earned an 8.0 or above from Pitchfork. But there's a vast world of music in these racks (from psychedelic, country and soul classics to the latest, greatest indie-rock hits and everything in between) and the staff—including Jacob Douglas, owner Chris Penn and beloved experimental curmudgeon Mark Church—will be glad to help you wade through it all to find your new favorite record. Just make sure to buy it when you find it, 'cause someone has to buy all that "free" in-store beer you've been drinking.

A groat is any grain that has been husked. Steel-cut oat groats have been chopped with a blade and then slightly baked. They cook into an oatmeal with more texture than regular oatmeal, which can be sort of gooey. Oat groats are sold in fancy packaging, sometimes as "Irish oatmeal," at a very fancy price, but you can get the same thing much cheaper by buying in bulk at certain stores. Central Market and Whole Foods sell bulk steel-cut oat groats, but, last time we checked, Newflower had the best price and offered both organic and regular. The best way to cook them is in a small crock pot overnight for about three hours. The oatmeal comes up with more flavor and a more pleasing texture than any of that quick-fix stuff.

Lost Antiques

Sitting next door to its sister store, Found, Lost Antiques is part antiques shop, part design studio and art gallery. With items from dealers across Texas, Lost has a phenomenal assortment of big and small finds. Check out the jewelry cases for vintage turquoise rings and old charm bracelets. Look above for ornate Art Deco chandeliers. The fine art collections include beautifully framed Lempickas, mid-century portraiture (some of it irresistibly kitschy) and vintage photographs. Old grammar school furniture from the 1950s sits next to authentic Shaker chairs. A marble bust peers down at a box of 1960s toys. Lost also has a vintage motorcycle shop with collectible BMW cycles and assorted gewgaws for them from the 1960s and '70s. It's like a museum of Americana, but all for sale at reasonably affordable prices.

Most Likely to Succeed Entrepreneurs Jully, Derek and Vynsie Law reveal the secret for the success of We Are 1976: Be predictably unpredictable. BY PATRICK MICHELS PHOTO BY MARK GRAHAM

The folks behind We Are 1976 were pretty big news when they first opened their gift shop/jewelry boutique/comic store/art studio in a mixed-use space at the end of the new development at 1902 N. Henderson Ave. With cool Asian imports and household trinkets from local designers, and an easy-going, inviting feel to their shop, Vynsie, Jully and Derek Law made a good case for being voted Dallas Most Likely to Succeed.

One year later, the trios going as strong as ever, and if theyve stumbled onto any one formula for success along the way, its this: Dont rely on some old formula to run your shop. What theyve builta local landmark, a store thats always stocked with fresh surprises, a community of art lovers geeking out on elegant designisnt the kind of place that comes with an instruction book.

Vynsie says theyd been talking about opening a shop just like this for a while. It was just something that we talked about casually for a really long time. In the fall of 2008, we just were like, Lets do it, Vynsie says. Each was in between jobsor at least didnt have a job theyd mind walking away from. Vynsie and Dereks dad, an adventurous businessman who made the most of his entrepreneurial urges after immigrating from Hong Kong, helped give them the kick they needed. Hes done a lot of different careers, and hes like, You guys just need to take a chance, Vynsie recalls.

Shelves and tables are constantly migrating across the store and back, and nothing stays in stock for long. Its hard work to maintain the DIY flair and unpredictability the shops become known forand that invites repeat visits from their devoted regularsbut Vynsie says it suits them. Because the inventorys always changing, were kind of schizophrenic too, she says. We want to make sure every time you come in its a different experience, because it is a small shop. We want people just to have fun in here, because we want to have fun while were working.

Part of that balancing act between work and play has meant each of the co-owners has had to figure out which part of the business they do best. It was an ugly process for a while, Vynsie says, but eventually she settled her role buying the jewelry and handmade goods, and doing the in-house design work for their website and events. Her brother Derek takes care of finding new books and imports, and his ex-wife Jully buys their collectible vinyl and handles the paperwork it takes to run the business. Everybody has their own little role. Its not like a handbook, Vynsie says. We just fell into it.

One of the surprising things is how much Dallas and the neighborhood has been so supportive, Vynsie says. We get a lot of people who come in and theyre like, Weve been wanting a store like this. The shops become a cultural hub for people who love all things hip, retro, whimsical and handmade. If youre into KidRobot, giant knitting, re-purposed record players or starting your own T-shirt brand, youll be right at home in We Are 1976.

When we started, we wanted to focus a lot on Dallas designers and artists, Vynsie says. Now they try to make sure around 30 percent of their stock comes from local artists and designers. We didnt know how much we could actually do. Thats been a good surprise, she says.

With a bright, airy space and a fridge stocked with a few favorite Japanese drinks (Pocari Sweat tastes even better than it sounds), its the kind of place you want to hang around and exploreand the shops second life as a gathering place, with art gallery nights and workshops in things like paper marbling and letterpress, has become more and more vital to its identity.

The shops already hosted seven open houses this year, drawing crowds that line up outside the door to get in. It sounds kind of cheesy, but when we opened it we wanted it to feel like a community, Jully says. It was hard to find talent at first but then once we opened our doors, a lot of people came to us.

Thats the real measure of success for We Are 1976drawing like-minded locals together and fostering a network of shops like theirs, from the Lower Greenville boutique Bows and Arrows to Curiosities in Lakewood.

I get so mad when people say that Dallas doesnt have a lot of creative outlets or cool places to go, Vynsie says, because if you just go down to Bishop Arts or around hereif you look hard enough, its there.

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