The Hippo


Jun 6, 2020








Gamers play Magic: the Gathering at The Relentless Dragon Game Store. Courtesy photo.

There's a store for that?
20 local shops that specialize in cool costumes, pilot gear, yo-yos and more

By Allie Ginwala, Kelly Sennott, Ryan Lessard, Angie Sykeny

The Relentless Dragon Game Store 

483 Amherst St., Nashua, 204-5275,
What’s for sale: Collectible/trading card games including an extensive selection of Magic: the Gathering common and uncommon singles, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Force of Will; deck-building card games like Dominion, Ascension, High Command and DC Comics Deck-Building Game; non-collectible card games like Star Realms, Munchkin and Killer Bunnies, role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons; miniature games like X-Wing, Armada and Warhammer 40K; tabletop/board games like Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, Agricola and Descent; a wide selection of dice including polyhedral, number cubes and others; and Ultra PRO Deck protectors and sleeves and BCW card storage supplies. The Relentless Dragon has a free-to-use playing area that seats up to 60 players, as well as weekly in-store organized games and tournaments, including Pokémon and  Yu-Gi-Oh! leagues on Saturday, Magic: the Gathering on Fridays, Dungeons & Dragons on Wednesdays and many more. The store also buys select previously owned Magic: the Gathering, Pokémon, and Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. 
Cool thing to buy: Individual cards. Card game cards are most commonly sold in packs, but at Relentless Dragon you can purchase single cards you want instead of taking your chances with a pack. Cards range from 10 cents to $1,000.
Huntress Uniforms
333 Valley St., Manchester, 800-446-8777,
What’s for sale: Huntress Uniforms has over 6,800 items in stock, which include uniforms and accessories for a variety of occupations. For those in hospitality services, there are formal blazers and tuxedos, suits, housekeeping dresses, vests, dress gloves, headwear, footwear and more. For healthcare workers, there are coordinating scrub tops, pants and jackets in both basic tones and fun colors and prints; lab coats and scrub dresses in traditional white and neutral colors; and accessories including lanyards, pocket organizers and more. For culinary occupations, there are aprons, kitchen shirts, chefs’ coats and headwear and more. For industrial workers, there are bibs and coveralls, reflective safety vests and jackets, work boots, work gloves and more. For public safety occupations, there is duty gear like utility belts, utility vests, suspenders and holsters; insignia patches and pins; and various apparel. 
Cool thing to buy: Grey’s Anatomy Signature Series lab coat by Barco. $45.
Bruised Boutique 
210 Daniel Webster Hwy., Nashua, located in the back of the building, 821-1311,
What’s for sale: Roller derby skates in a variety of styles and colors; protective gear including helmets and re-caps/liners, knee and elbow pads and pad cleaners, wrist guards, mouth guards, Ez-fit booties and blister aids, and other miscellaneous supports and braces; wheels including indoor, outdoor, park skating and hybrid styles; skate parts including boots, plates, toe stops, toe guards, laces, tools and tool kits; derby apparel including skinz, skirts, shorts, socks, pants, hoodies, tops and accessories; referee gear including whistles and apparel; pads and skates for kids/junior derby; “freshmeat” starter packages; derby books and videos; and gifts like stickers and patches, keychains, bags, etc. 
Cool thing to buy: Bruised Boutique offers nine different freshmeat packages, from “The Brat” package at $181.90 to the “The Assassin Package” at $675.75. All packages include skates, a helmet, knee and elbow pads, wrist guards and a mouth guard, in a selection of styles and colors where applicable. Some packages include other accessories like toe stops, skate tools and knee gaskets. You can also mix and match to create a custom package. 
More roller derby: You can also find roller derby equipment at Spank Alley Skate in Concord (59 S. Main St., 227-6954,
Brunelle Stamps & Coin 
25 East Broadway, Derry, 432-2658,
What’s for sale: This store, which was started by longtime collectors with more than three decades of combined experience collecting, can appraise and buy your vintage gold and silver coins as well as sell you some rare finds from their own inventory. They also do off-site appraisals by appointment. In addition to old and rare nickels, dimes and quarters, they have a wide selection of half cents, two cents, three cents, 20 cents, half dollars, dollar coins, coins with errors and collectible mint sets. They also sell a selection of books, albums, folders and display cases.
As for the store’s stamp collection, they boast an inventory big enough (in the thousands) to keep an avid collector busy looking through them for hours. They have rare stamps like commemorative panels, stamps with printing errors, and foreign stamps. They have mint condition singles, sets and sheets as well as used singles. All said, they claim to have southern New Hampshire’s largest collection of coins and stamps. 
The store is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
Cool thing to buy: Some coins from the ancient world can fetch hundreds of dollars.
More Coins: If you are a coin collector, you may also be interested in visiting Bob’s Coins of Manchester (378 Kelley St., 669-7775, or Coin & Stamp Shop (300 Granite St., 624-4400,, which also sells antique cameras and discount metal detectors.
The Mountaintop Shop
1 Commerce Drive, Bedford, 627-4158,
What’s for sale: The Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains has a store that sells a wide array of Girl Scout supplies. 
“It’s located in our council offices,” said April Guilmet, the GSGWM spokesperson. “It’s the only one of its kind in New Hampshire.”
Guilmet says it’s generally open the same time as the offices, Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., but occasionally they’ll open on weekends for special events such as Green Saturday on Nov. 21, where girls were able to participate in some fun activities and new winter apparel was released. 
The store is also going to be open on Saturday, Dec. 12, for Christmas shopping from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will be open a few extra hours on Dec. 2 (until 6:30 p.m.) and Dec. 18 (until 7 p.m.), according to Guilmet.
The store has been around for more than 20 years and is open to the general public. It also sells books, clothing, jewelry accessories, purses and sunglasses, and most of the merchandise is Girl Scout branded.
Some of its more popular items are patches. They have patches for anything from horseback riding to computer literacy. Girl Scouts can also earn currency called “Cookie Dough” during their cookie fund drives that can be spent as store credit.
Cool thing to buy: Uniform components like sashes sell for between $8 and $26 depending on the size. 
More scouting: The Boy Scouts have a similar shop at (300 Blondin Road, Manchester, 622-5060,
Diver’s Den Dive Shop
730 Mammoth Road, Manchester, 644-3483,
What’s for sale: Judy Kurisko-Leclerc and Dick Leclerc own one of the oldest and largest dive shops in the Northeast. The business dates back to 1967, and Dick Leclerc said via phone it’s the oldest PADI — Professional Association of Diving Instructors — shop in the world). Here you’ll find all the necessary equipment for a diving excursion, from masks and wetsuits to BCDs to regulators, which you can buy or rent. The business also offers expertise, information and lessons from certified instructors, which in the summer are held on the coast, in Lake Winnipesaukee and in the on-site outdoor pool next to the storefront. In the winter, they happen in the local YMCA. Lessons range in level from basic open water to rescue diving. Leclerc said the company also organizes two Caribbean diving trips every year and day trips to the Isles of Shoals or the Maine coast.
Cool thing to buy: Dick Leclerc said scuba gear is very popular for vacationers; you can get a ScubaPro mask, snorkel and flippers for about $75 to $125.
More diving: Aquatic Escapes Dive Center (2 Mercury Drive, Londonderry, 432-3483, and Aquatic Specialties (704 Milford Road, Merrimack, 889-7655, 
Boston and Albany Hobbies
836 Candia Road, Manchester, 305-5023,
What’s for sale: Owner Dave Hobbs decided to open his own model train shop, Boston and Albany Hobbies, six years ago when the shop he had been working in closed. Specializing in n-scale model trains (which ranges from 1:148 to 1:160 of full size), he stocks tracks, cars, engines, wheels, detail parts, buildings and scenery products that he purchases from a dozen vendors. For more advanced hobbyists, check out decoders, digital command control systems and throttles from Digitrax. Hobbs said those looking to further their collection, pick up the hobby or find a neat gift for a child to play with will be right at home.
Cool thing to buy: Hobbs said that over the years, one aspect of model trains that has been improved upon is sound. He has computer chips with sound programs featuring real engines that cost about $70.
More trains: Check more model trains and supplies at Trains on Tracks (76 Route 101A, Unit 4, Amherst, 554-1543, full-service model train shop. 
The Quartz Source
503 Nashua St., Milford, 673-0481,
What’s for sale: Owners Barbara and Richard Medlyn have hundreds of rock, mineral and fossil specimens, some like white quartz and mica come from New Hampshire mines and others lapis pieces from Afghanistan. The Quartz Source has over 50 varieties of quartz, 20 varieties of calcite and minerals from Brazil, Mexico, India and Madagascar as well as Tibetan crystals, tumbled stones, beads and carvings, sculptures and spheres. With a wide selection for collectors to add to their stock, prices start at 25 cents so kids can come and search through the buckets of rocks in front the the shop to start their own collection. To get a little more hands on, select a geode (sourced from Mexico) let one of the staff help put it in the hydraulic pump and crack it open yourself. 
Cool thing to buy: Rose quartz from South Dakota ($3 per pound) is particularly popular because it’s one of the few rough formations sold in the store.
Earth and Tree Dollhouse & Miniatures
276 Route 101, Amherst, 673-8707,
What’s for sale: Opened in 1986, Earth and Tree makes and sells dollhouses and everything you’d need to put in them, scaled one inch to the foot. Dollhouses can be purchased fully assembled with wallpaper, lighting and trim or as a blank canvas to fill and outfit individually, according to manager JaNeen Lentsch, whose parents opened the shop. Her father Tom designed and built the original houses (Tom’s Mill, now built by Lentsch’s husband and others) each of which is named after a town in New Hampshire. Find everything from furniture, wood trims, shingles and doorknobs to electrical supplies, clocks, hat stands, televisions and teeny food to make the house’s interior cozy. Get dolls, cats, dogs or turtles to live in the handcrafted houses that range in styles like colonial, federal, contemporary, medieval and early to late Victorian. For the exterior they have ponds, foliage and grass plus bird houses, fencing, statues, gates and trellises.
Cool thing to buy: You can get a hutch with two rabbits ($19) or a hamster on a wheel ($11).
Nashua Pilot Shop
89 Perimeter Road, Nashua, 886-6663,
What’s for sale: Drive (or fly) over to Nashua to visit the region’s only walk-in pilot shop just outside of the Nashua Airport, which carries all the supplies needed to become a pilot. Owner Keith Webb took over the pre-existing shop Wings in 2012 and continues selling flight training study materials and aeronautical charts (visual, instrumental and high-altitude) and items you need inside the airplane, like carbon monoxide detectors and headsets. You’ll also find logbooks, aircraft fuel testers and survival gear items like thermal reflective blankets and personal flotation seat cushions. For the aviation aficionado in your life, there’s a gifts section with T-shirts, bumper stickers, diecast airplanes, embroidered keychains, modern and classic instrument drink coasters and desk alarm clocks designed to look like altimeters.
Cool thing to buy: Aviation headsets from brands like Bose, Lightspeed and David Clark. Depending on the make and style, they run from around $100 all the way up to $1,000 for ones with active noise reduction.
Der Markt at Marklin
28 Riverside Drive, Contoocook, 746-5442,
What’s for sale: For Martin and Christine Marklin, first came Marklin Candle, a company of  hand-dipped, carved and embellished candles made with 51 percent beeswax right here in the state (see the paschal, altar, advent and baptismal candles in many colors and designs at and shipped to churches across the country and beyond. When they moved to the Contoocook factory, they converted the unused office space in the front of the building into Der Markt at Marklin, a retail store that sells everything from candles and baby clothes to journals, scarves and fresh chicken eggs.  Inside you’ll also find an observation beehive and honey from Dunbarton, Warner and West Hopkinton, plus a full woodshop where they make church furniture that encompasses “everything but the pews,” Christine Marklin said.
Cool thing to buy: In the manufacturing process of making large candles for Easter, Marklin said they end up with excess pieces. Instead of remelting them, they sell the popular off cut candles in Der Markt by the pound ($9.50 per pound).
Costume Gallery
11½ E. Broadway, Derry, 434-0627,
What’s for sale: The busy season for the Costume Gallery is actually not Halloween, but the period from now through May. The owner, Claire Renaud, also a leather and fiber artist juried by the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen, rents out theatrical costumes to local companies (Pinkerton Academy recently borrowed pieces for Alice in Wonderland) and those across country. At the time of the phone call, all her turkey costumes were out, and the Christmas ones soon would be too.
“We have a 20-foot rack loaded with Santa suits, [elf] and reindeer costumes already going out, and we’re not even into December,” Renaud said via phone.
The Derry storefront holds about 20,000 costumes, many of which she purchased in 1999 after Haverhill, Mass., costume shop, Hooker and Howe, went out of business. An accomplished sewer — she taught herself how at age 11 in efforts to keep up with her 11 sisters — she’s also made many of the costumes herself. She said the most popular shows include Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Spamalot. 
Cool thing to buy: Though most of the business is about costume rentals, you can also buy props and accessories; the most popular item is a red clown nose, which costs about $1.99.
More theater costumes: Costumes of Nashua LLC (76 R Derry Road, Hudson, 882-5640,
Celeste Oliva
75 S. Main St., Concord, 225-3866,
What’s for sale: Owner Charla Mayotte started the Concord-based company about a year and a half ago because she felt it was time Concord had a place you could find authentic extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. She sources from as far as Chile, Australia, South Africa, Greece, Spain, Italy and California and offers more than 50 different flavors of oil, 25 different flavors of balsamic vinegar. The oils she sells have been processed within two to four hours after picking, and some balsamic varieties have been aged for up to 18 years. For newbies to specialty oil and vinegar, Celeste Oliva has a “try it before you buy it” policy. 
The store also offers pasta, sea salt, ketchup, mustard and olive oil beauty products, soaps and candles. (She joked via phone it was kind of like a fancy condiment store.) Starting mid-December, visitors will also find a variety of kinds of olives to try.
Cool thing to buy: Pumpkin seed oil, made at Stonybrook Farms in New York ($15 for 200 mL, $20 for 375 mL).
More oil and vinegar: Monadnock Oil & Vinegar (Grove Village Shops, 43 Grove St., Peterborough, 784-5175,
Harris Trophy
18 Hanover St., Manchester, 669-3984,
What’s for sale: The independent store, family-owned since its start in 1969, is run by husband-wife team Frank and Lisa Fraitzl and sells to southern New Hampshire sports teams, schools and other organizations that give out trophies, medals and ribbons. Frank Fraitzl said via phone that they work with clients — some of whom have been doing business with Harris for 30 years — to create one-of-a-kind custom awards, which range from academics and sports to fire safety and business. Local clients include Saint Anselm College and UNH Manchester. At the store you’ll also find business and personal gifts, signs, badges, ceremonial items and fancy pens, including the Cross pen line.
Cool thing to buy: A name block to sit on your desk, made from wood or metal, starting at $16.
More trophies: Other award businesses in the neighborhood include Crown Trophy (1 Alice Ave., Hooksett, 645-1022,, Saymore Trophy (64 Old Suncook Road, Concord, 225-2761,, Hudson Trophy Company (6 Broad St., Nashua, 883-1441,, Celebration Awards and Trophies (27 Main St., Goffstown, 566-8063, and Esco Awards (375 S. Broadway, Salem, 893-0173).
Gone Cachin’
15 Taylor St., Nashua, 438-2718, 
What’s for sale: The store got started three years ago by Calador Cala to supply so-called “geocachers” with all the gear they’d need to hide and find geocaches in New England woods. Geocaching (pronounced “geo-cashing”) is a hobby that involves hiding a small box somewhere in a forest and sharing the GPS coordinates with a simple clue for others to find it. Finding the store shouldn’t be too hard. It’s generally located at 15 Taylor St. in Nashua in a handicapped-accessible trailer outfitted with solar panels, LED lights, windows and an awning.
“There’s a lot of geocachers in the area. Thousands,” said Cala. “I’d say I’ve got a pretty good flow of people throughout the week.”
Cala also takes his store to various geocacher conventions like the Cookie Crumbles Event in Concord that took place earlier in November.
He sells containers for geocaches such as military-style ammo boxes and logs made into custom containers, camouflage duct tape and camouflage spray paint. 
“The zip ties are even camouflaged,” said Cala.
He also sells journals, telescoping mirrors with lights, UV lights for detecting invisible ink markers and general equipment for dealing with outdoor environments like tick removers. The store is open Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. and Tuesday 5 to 8 p.m.
Cool thing to buy: You can buy “trackables” like $15 geocoins, which travel from geocache to geocache by the people who find them while the originators can track their progress online.
The Quilt Patch
133 Bedford Center Road, Bedford, 472-7845,
What’s for sale: Sue Trask, a quilter since 1977, started The Quilt Patch in Bedford about 10 years ago, replacing another specialty quilt shop in the same location. Quilting, she said, is the No. 2 hobby in America, right after golf, and she has many regular customers who come for materials, sewing meet-ups and lessons. Everything on sale is quilting-specific, from patterns and books to rotary cutters and specialty rulers and pins. Students have been as young as 10 and as old as 94. The holiday season is especially busy, she said, but people quilt all year round, even in the summer. Much of what she offers is geared toward beginners, but she said she can help you make most anything through quilting, from rugs and quilted jackets to coasters and hot pads.
Cool thing to buy: The eight-week, 16-hour Intro to Quiltmaking class, taught by Melissa St. Onge, starts in the new year and costs $80.
More quilting: In the area, you could also try Peggy Anne’s Quilting & Sewing Co. (480 Patten Hill Road, Candia, 223-2344,, Golden Gese Quilt Shop (22 Liberty St., Concord, 228-5540,, LizzyStitch Quilt Shop (249 Sheep Davis Road, 724-1918,, Sewing Diva Quilt and Gift Shop (16 Manning St., Derry, 216-1647,, Quilted Threads (116 Main St., Henniker, 428-6622,, Patches Quilt Loft and Embroidery (649 E. Industrial Park Drive, Manchester, 206-5490, and the Pine Tree Quilt Shop (224 N. Broadway, Salem, 870-8100, .
Fish Mike Aquatics 
45 Blaine St., Manchester, 836-6939,
What’s for sale: Glass aquariums, filtration equipment, aquarium lights, fish medication and food, fish and some reptiles and amphibians. Inside the store, there are over 50 tanks containing hundreds of different species of fish, mostly tropical, for both freshwater and saltwater tanks. Some fish species, common and uncommon, are consistently in stock, but a large part of Fish Mike Aquatics’ selection varies with each new order and often includes hard-to-find species. While there is a limited amount of aquariums and aquarium equipment for sale on site, the owner works with each customer to custom order products that best suit their needs. Fish Mike Aquatics also offers a variety of services, including aquarium design and layout, installation, cleaning and maintenance, problem-diagnosing and even fish and reptile pet-sitting. 
Cool thing to buy: A turtle. The store carries various species, ranging from $25 to $70. 
Adler Hobby’s Boardgame Café
260 Mammoth Road, Manchester, 400-1120,
What’s for sale: This place sells tabletop games, card games and supplies with an emphasis on history-themed and sci-fi painted miniatures. After a recent reinvention, they now offer ample play space with tables, a library of games and a small selection of K-cup coffees and teas. 
Non-members pay an $8 cover charge for use of the library and tables, while casual members pay $5 and full members play free. Casual membership costs $15 a month, while full membership is $30 a month. 
They sell a wide variety of board games and paint for miniatures. They even work with local schools to create historical war reenactments for students.
Wednesdays from noon to 8 p.m. are Star Trek Attack Wing days, featuring free pizza. Thursdays, they host weekly game nights and a regular league game night that can sometimes last as late as 11 p.m. They are also open Fridays (noon to 8 p.m.) and Saturdays (noon to 9 p.m.) and offer members-only access on Sundays noon to 6 p.m.
Cool thing to buy: Oh Gnome You Don’t!, a $30 board game where the players are gnomes fighting each other in order to get the most gems.
More board games: Other local board game stores include Myriad Games (1525 S. Willow St., Manchester, 623-4263, and The Relentless Dragon (483 Amherst St., Nashua, 204-5275,
Breakin’ Chains
1461 Hooksett Road in Hooksett, 232-2261,
What’s for sale: It’s not just a store for disc-golf gear — it’s also the central nervous system of the local disc golf community. Owner Bill Bruce says there are about 25 disc golf courses in the state, with the largest (the Hollows) recently opening in Manchester off Brown Avenue.
“We’re very active in disc golf in the state,” said Bruce.
He says many folks in the state may not be aware there are free courses in places like Newport, Pelham, Merrimack, Dover, Rochester and Wilton. Some other courses are pay-to-play, but the Hollows in Manchester is free and designed by 2010 PGA World Champion Eric McCabe to be a professional-grade course.
Disc golf uses very specific types of plastic discs (the object is to throw them into circular baskets with hanging chains and the rules are similar to golf) so a simple frisbee from Walmart simply won’t do. Bruce says his store carries all major brands of discs like Innova, Discraft, MVP, Legacy and Millennium, and most of the brands he carries are made in America.
He also sells bags that players can carry their discs in, clothing, sunglasses, hats and practice baskets for your yard. 
Cool thing to buy: Individual discs sell for about $10 to $20, and a starter kit (which includes a driver disc, a mid-range disc and a putter disc) sells for $25 to $50 depending on the quality. 
YoYo Heaven
35 S. Main St., Concord, 290-5353,
What’s for sale: A wide selection of yo-yos, skill toys and accessories. Yo-yos come in responsive, non-responsive and wooden styles in various shapes, sizes and colors from six major brands. There are also yo-yo accessories like strings and bearings and yo-yo instructional books and DVDs. YoYo Heaven has a variety of Kendamas, competitive Japanese toys that look like a hammer and have two cups, a spike and a ball attached by a string that the player must try to catch inside the cups or on the spike. The shop also sells Rubik’s Cubes, juggling balls and various active play toys like spin-tops, gyroscopes, footbags and Astrojax - three balls on a string with play that resembles juggling, yo-yo and lassoing. 
Cool thing to buy: A Kendama. They range from $12 to $80. 

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