The first Brick and Mortar is The Naturalist's Notebook.
This past August my family went on a vacation to Maine, specifically Mount Desert Island. It is a wonderful place with lots of hiking, beautiful scenery, and some very interesting things to do. In our travels around the island and going from town to town I found a small store in Seal Harbor called the Naturalist's Notebook. With that kind of name I had to check it out.
When my son and I walked in I was stunned. It was part art store, part stationary store, part bookstore and not in a Barnes and Noble, lets-cram-a-bunch-of-random-shit-in-here kind of way. It was also quite close to a museum. There were little displays of things for kids to do--drawing owls, pretending to be a specimen, and playing with various kinds of art supplies. And there were animals in formaldehyde, looking all high school science class.
But the stuff they were selling was equally cool. There were magnifying glasses, tiny rockhound hammers, hand brooms, collection bags, tons of pens, pencils, and journals. It was quite impressive. They even had a large stock of out of print Field Notes. I picked up some Expedition Edition Field Notes. I keep one Field Notes book for show notes for the podcast and another as an idea for post topics. I used to keep a paper calendar, but it was just too much of a hassle. These will be perfect for quick ideas.
The clerk inside the store wasn't what I expected either (a hipster, frankly). Instead I got the sense that she was either an art student or a biology student. And she REALLY liked working at the Naturalist Notebook (or perhaps more accurately--she liked the stuff they sold). My son loved the place as well, walking around and staring in almost complete silence.
I am not sure why I am telling you about this place, other than to remind you it is possible to find stores that aren't big box stores or singleton's trying to be big box stores. If you get up to MDI, even if you are on the Bar Harbor side of the island (where most folks go) its worth the half hour car ride to get to the other side and peruse the small but stocked shelves of the Naturalist's Notebook.