to Be Your Own Carpenter
Looking for a new hobby that makes you feel like you’ve actually accomplished something? Try a beginner class at this Germantown nonprofit. The workshop starts small — like, pencil-case small — but the skills acquired are applicable across the woodworking spectrum. From there, take a learning-series course to master the craft’s tools and techniques; you’ll be making your own furniture in no time. (Okay, it will probably take a long time.) 5212 Pulaski Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19144
You could do what everyone does and sign up with Big National Pest Control Conglomerate Inc. and every couple of months politely scream, “Well, they didn’t come!” at a call-center operator (hypothetically). Or you could call Evans Pest Control and get responsive service that actually keeps the bugs out of your basement. Got an issue? Just text the company, and someone will be right over. If it’s a situation you think you can handle yourself — ha! — stop by the Port Richmond office and pick up the pest-control products the company uses. 2607 East Allegheny Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19134
Chef Cary Neff opened this impossibly small East Passyunk shop back in April, lining his shelves with both new and used tools, cookbooks, pots, pans and knives. While you’re looking around, Neff will bring your dull santoku back to razor-sharp life for just $9. The trick is to catch him — the hours, according to the front window, are “by chance.” 1940 South 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19148
If the new look of a local brand has recently caught your eye, chances are it was designed by Smith & Diction. The Bok-based design studio led by husband-and-wife duo Mike and Chara Smith is behind some of the city’s freshest aesthetics, including logos for the Rail Park and block-cleaning service Glitter, packaging for Elixr and Càphê Roasters, and a shiny new suite of graphics for the Philadelphia Visitor Center. They approach each project with a sharp creative eye and a meticulous 10-step process — and deliver a logo design or an entire brand identity. 1901 South 9th Street, number 510, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Tires are one of those things you don’t think about until tractor-trailers are whizzing by as you stand on the side of I-95, sweating. If, in this hypothetical, you find yourself on a stretch of I-95 near Port Richmond, call Kaz Tire Center. They’ll fix your flat, and if you need a whole new set, they’ll get you back on the road in 30 minutes. And owner Kazem Nabavi might even show you the small backyard farm where he raises chickens, ducks, and a couple of peacocks. 2400 East Somerset Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19134
Whether it’s a wash-and-wax or you’re sick and tired of the lingering smell from the one time (just once!) your chain-smoking uncle borrowed your Honda, Jo Jo’s Professional Auto Detailing is the place to go. The Fuscellaro family will vacuum, shampoo, wax, shine, and work their general magic on your car or truck, all with upfront, reasonable pricing. We’re sure they’d even send the bill to your uncle if you asked nicely. 1913 South Bancroft Street, Philadelphia, PA 19148
It’s right there in the name: All That Jazz Sound & Security. This Lancaster Ave shop has spent its entire existence keeping Philadelphians’ trunks thumping and vehicles secure, but the electronic expertise here has kept pace with the trends, too, with remote starters, backup and dashboard cameras, LED lighting, whatever. While these might seem like bells and whistles — hey, they do custom horns, too — adding undercarriage lighting to your motorcycle is an increasingly popular way to stay safe on your bike. 4977 Lancaster Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19131
In 1985, Korean immigrant and recent Penn grad In Pak had an idea: SAT prep. That idea started in the basement of a church and then, three years later, grew to a Melrose Park location. Today, the family-run Accel Academy has four locations across Montgomery County and has prepped thousands of students for the SAT, in addition to offering AP math and science enrichment, language lessons, and math and English tutoring for students as young as fourth grade.
Is that Rolex you inherited from your shady uncle real? Did you still go by your maiden name the last time you had your engagement ring appraised? Take your treasure to certified gemologist Joshua Hyman. The man knows jewelry: His parents were jewelers. His grandparents were jewelers. His great-grandfather sold precious metals door-to-door during the Depression. Hyman, though? He’s in the appraisal business — and the only independent appraiser on Jewelers’ Row. Make an appointment online, or just walk into his lab/office, and he’ll tell you all about your jewelry’s specifications — including its value for insurance — in a detailed report, right on the spot. He’ll even clean it for you while you wait. 126 South 8th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Next to root canals, there’s little that people like less than moving. The boxes! The bubble wrap! Running around yelling, “Where’s my goddamn toothbrush?” So why add a bad mover into the mix? Moverama’s nimble team is responsive and quick, with up-front pricing and no haggling over the final bill. Whether it’s an intracity or interstate move, these are the guys for you.
Awkward contractor conversations, poring over a billion tile samples, surprise upcharges — these are just a few of the problems Kit solves for homeowners. Founder Merisa Fink started the company in Brooklyn in 2020 and now takes projects in Philly. Her idea is genius: Pick one of Kit’s high-end designs (we were Mid Century Scandi, but maybe you’re Farmhouse Modern?), and the team will customize it to fit your bathroom, hire the contractor, and give you a project manager to oversee it all. The end result is stunning and, as renovations go, pain-free.
(or Sell) and Make Over That Fixer-Upper
Found an 18th-century barn you’d love to call home? Want to fix up the old Victorian you live in now so it will fetch a better price when you sell it? Dwell & Co. will turn that old place into a stunning new one and help you buy or sell it. Because it’s both a design/build construction firm and a real estate brokerage, all you need to get things going is a single email.
We recently needed a contractor for a big project, a basement-to-attic job: oil-tank and boiler- system removal, a switchover to natural gas, mini-duct split units for air-conditioning. (Like we said, it was a big job.) In addition to having the best price, the folks at Scatton’s were personable, did impeccable work, and did so with top-of-the-line products. And as the post-pandemic crush of home renovations continues, we’ll say one more thing — they actually responded to our calls, which can’t be said of everyone. 920 Allentown Road, Lansdale, PA 19446
Matthew Hiller has been letterpress printing since 2011, and his equipment — antique Chandler & Price platen presses and a hand-cranked Challenge cylinder press — has been at work for more than a century longer. Inside his studio, Hiller designs everything from wedding invites and business cards to posters and custom packaging, then uses the finest paper and old-fashioned techniques to bring them to life. In a world where DM’d party invites and texted birthday GIFs have become the norm, these character-filled pieces convey the beauty of the human touch. 1901 South 9th Street, number 208, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Whether you’re trying to restore your grandmother’s Royal Quiet De Luxe or just get the dust-covered Remington that’s been sitting in your attic working well enough to type some letters up old-school-style, this typewriter geek has the tools and know-how to get the job done — and more affordably than some other folks in the biz. Find him through Mount Airy’s W.P.M. Typewriter Shop, just across from Weavers Way. 6819 Greene Street, Philadelphia, PA 19119
When you spend upwards of $5,000 on an Oriental rug, you don’t want to cut corners on its upkeep, so take it to the guys who have been doing this for more than 100 years. Pets? Red wine? Toddlers who make you question why you have nice things? They’ve seen it all. They’ll pick up your rug, give you a rundown on its condition, provide services from cleaning to restoration (they’ll match the yarn and then weave or hand-knot to mirror the style), and bring it back to you as good as new. 4930 West Parkside Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19131
Beloved Dog or Cat (or Bird!) Dies
Most funeral homes deal with, you know, humans. But Delco’s Lombardo Funeral Home will take good care of your furry loved one via its Ever After Pets subsidiary. It offers a convenient and highly respectful pickup service from your home or vet and will then return your pet’s ashes in a customizable urn a few days later, along with a plaster casting of its paw print. (Unlike most funeral homes, Lombardo’s boasts an on-site crematory.) Prices start at $275 for a private cremation in which only your pet will be present in the cremation chamber. 33 Baltimore Pike, Clifton Heights, PA 19018
Buying a new house? Don’t sign on the dotted line until you meet Adam Smith. His boutique service includes a one-on-one walk-through that covers everything from small idiosyncrasies to turn-and-run deal-breakers. Click here for some of his best tips for not ending up with a money pit.
In 2018, Bucks County’s Leah Bopf started a humble Instagram account devoted to her obsession: A-frame houses for sale. Five years later, Bopf has become the queen of the quirky house style, and @aframedreams has amassed a tight-knit community of more than 150,000 fellow A-frame fans (including celebs like Hilary Duff and Alanis Morissette) who follow for daily real estate listings and A-frame inspo. (There’s also a website and newsletter for even more listings, and merch like toile A-frame wallpaper.) It’s like Zillow, only much, much cooler.
This Philly cabaret performer can belt. She’s the only person we know who can pull off the biggest Broadway tunes in history, Black Sabbath, and Pink Floyd’s vocally exacting “Great Gig in the Sky,” which we once saw her sing from the roof of the Bok Bar in front of a sold-out crowd as the sun was setting on the horizon. Magical. The good news is that she’ll teach you all her secrets at your place or hers, or virtually. At the very least, your karaoke game will never be the same.
The Philadelphia area has hundreds of species of birds, from huge predatory hawks to those fascinating little hummingbirds. This store, with seven locations in the five-county area and South Jersey, has everything you need to attract your favorites, including specialty bird foods, feeders, nesting boxes and baths. Bat boxes, too.