When I was a kid, my grandmother used to take me to Dan’s Crafts & Things, and when I stopped by on a recent Friday, I discovered that the place looks almost the same as it did 20 years ago. (Funny, though, how things look bigger when you’re small. The store used to seem cavernous as I walked up and down its aisles. Now, its 12,000 square feet simply make it "big.")
At Dan's, you'll find everything from a five-foot artificial sunflower to a foot-shaped cookie cutter, plus many kits containing everything you need to make the finished product. That might be a Mardi Gras mask, a kite, a model car, a dollhouse, a tie-dye shirt, origami… and more. ("And more" is a very useful phrase when describing this place.) The shelves are full of all sorts of art supplies, like yarn, ribbon, beads, and paint; materials like wood, metal, and foam; and crafting tools ("and more"). If you would rather that someone else do the creating, Dan’s also has board and card games and puzzles.
Dan’s has plenty of things for kids, too, including Thomas trains, Playmobil sets, and small toy animals. Some of the craft kits are aimed specifically at children, allowing them to make a pirate ship, knitted hat, or several other fun things.
You’ll also find some “miscellaneous” items at Dan's, like sea monkeys, or Giant Microbes (they make cholera cuddly!), or tiny rubber bats (as in the animal, not the sporting equipment). Some of the store's stuff is in the “blast from the past” category, like boondoggle or those little flocked bears that I haven’t seen since elementary school.
Unfortunately, Dan's didn't have a great selection of what I actually went to the store for--rubber stamps--so I didn't leave with any. But everyone I spoke with at the store was friendly and helpful, and I ended up picking up two impulse buys from the shelves near the register: two Sharpies, one teal and one violet, and a bag of Reese's Pieces. OK, I suppose that's technically three impulse buys.
TIP: Dan's has a Facebook page that they update frequently.
NEARBY: Bazil, All That Jazz