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Issue Date: July 2008

The Fun House

Shoparooni is a treat for the pop-loving, toy-wild, shoe-crazy, T-shirt wearing kind who wants something different.
Kristen Hampshire
If your office cube suffers from a case of the Mondays — there’s nothing all that happy about a Swingline and standard-issue company mug — Shoparooni has just the thing to crank up the fun factor. Bendable party mustache, anyone?

As the store promises, Shoparooni is the one-stop shop for everything awesome — including all that awesomeness you didn’t realize you needed until you saw it playfully displayed inside Marlee and Steve Brown’s poppy-go-lucky store on Waterloo Road.

“A lot of the stuff I was getting for myself anyway,” says Marlee. The duo converted a sad Collinwood storefront into a bright showcase of iconoclastic goods, indie clothing, statement shoes, fun T-shirts, original bags and kitschy jewelry from local artists.

“It’s like being in a candy store for grown-ups — or almost grown-ups,” Marlee says.

The store’s contents include everything from stocking stuffer finds to original apparel. Marlee handpicks retro magnets with one-liners you think but wouldn’t say such as “God knows when you don’t tip.” Cheeky vinyl cuffs ($14.99) are decorated with collage art — at first glance the colorful bands look like slap bracelets of the ’80s.

Dedicated collectors will be delighted to find Kidrobot ($2.99-$19.99), the quirky, limited-edition toys designed by celebrity artists. For a plush treat, GrowBots Junk Bunnies fit the bill ($19.99). Crafted by Clevelanders Kenn and Marnie Louis, these hand-sewn, hand-screened characters are one-of-a-kind huggable pals.

Shoe-loving sisters, check your willpower at the door. A collection of funky pumps and cool street shoes you won’t find in any department store fill an island in the center of the shop. That’s the idea. “We try to pick up brands that aren’t as popular,” Marlee says, noting names such as Sans Oceana. “We ask reps, ‘What are others buying around here?’ because we don’t want it.”

But in many ways, Shoparooni is the anti-boutique. You can leave with a treat for yourself and not empty your wallet.

“We want everything to be priced in such a way that really just about anyone could get something,” Marlee says. “You’re not going to be putting yourself out.”

15813 Waterloo Road, Cleveland, (216) 383-3633; 

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