Shoptalk: Historic New Orleans Collection

The exhibitions at The Historic New Orleans Collection (HNOC) are meant to be viewed and admired, but the items at The Shop at the Collection (533 Royal Street, 504-598-7147; www.hnoc.org) are meant to be picked up and taken home.   "I want customers to feel that they're not in the museum, that they're welcomed and comfortable and can get in there and touch and experience," says store manager Michelle Gaynor.

What’s in store: BC Kitchen & Bath

Bin Hang, owner of BC Kitchen & Bath (3939 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie; 504-338-6227; www.bckitchenbath.com) believes the kitchen is the heart of the home. The kitchen business helps Hang keep in touch with relatives overseas.

Shop talk: Red Gravy

Roseann Melisi Rostoker consummated a longtime love affair with New Orleans by making the city her home in August 2010. Three months later, she opened her restaurant, Red Gravy (125 Camp St., 504-561-8844; www.redgravycafe.com).

Shop talk: Belladonna Day Spa

Located on a bustling stretch of Magazine Street, Belladonna Day Spa's (2900 Magazine St., 504-891-4393; www.belladonnadayspa.com) serene ambience sharply contrasts the busy pace outside. Oversized aquariums, neutral decor and a lush bamboo garden lend the space a sense of calm.

Shop Talk: Cafe Gentilly

When customers enter Steve Herbert's restaurant, Cafe Gentilly (5325 Franklin Ave., 504-281-4220; www.thecafegentilly.com), he'll ask their names, and the next time they visit, he'll inquire about their "momma an' dem."   "People come here because they know we'll treat them right," he says.

What’s in store: Treasure Tattoo

If passersby don't look carefully, they might miss Treasure Tattoo (2350 St. Claude Ave., 504-344-7989; www.facebook.com/treasuretattoonola), a vibrant little tattoo shop nestled on St. Claude Avenue.   "We got lucky," owner Jamie Ruth says.

Canal Furniture Liquidators

At Canal Furniture Liquidators (3534 Toulouse Street, 504-482-6851; www.canalfurnitureliquidators.com), customers can spend hours in the large warehouse store browsing everything from exercise machines to designer rugs. The majority of its furniture comes from area hotels.

Breaux Mart

At Breaux Mart (citywide; www.breauxmart.com), hundreds of locally sourced products, including craft beer, coffee, jams and jellies line the shelves. All five Breaux Mart stores offer grocery staples, meats and produce, and each location is specific to its neighborhood.

Hi-Brow Beauty Bar

Hi-Brow Beauty Bar (126 Sierra Court, Metairie, 504-325-2222; www.hibrownola.com) is located in an unassuming house on a quiet street. Inside, the atmosphere is soothing, with music, scented candles and conversation.

Blue Frog Chocolates

Nestled inside a nearly 100-year-old cottage, Blue Frog Chocolates (5707 Magazine St., 504-269-5707; www.bluefrogchocolates.com) brims with sweet treats. Shiny packages of chocolates and candies cover the tables and a glass display case reveals an assortment of gourmet truffles.

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