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The Graffiti Shop

Where:

414 S Mill Ave Ste B102
Tempe, AZ 85281
Phone: (480) 921-8821

What:

Inexplicably, The Graffiti Shop doesn‘t have much web presence in the form of reviews or people talking about it. I suppose that this adds to its lurking, hole-in-the-wall atmosphere and presence on the Ave, but it is a large part of my experience of Mill Ave. Anyone who visits our street should also spend a moment to drop in. It is the quintessential head shop and grunge parlor for our strip.

Graffiti has been around Mill since I started hanging out there over a decade ago and probably has outlived my own experience there by many more years. The proprietor, Lawrence, is a smiling old hippy with long hair, a crass mouth, and a true entrepreneurial spirit. Finding the place in real life is about as difficult as it is finding it on the web—there are no signs pointing there, just a steady stream of gritty, interested parties looking for the Mill Ave underground.

Walk along the red bricks, take a seeming wrong-turn, and suddenly appearing there, inside of a courtyard with a gazebo, a doorway with an unlit sign and the proclamation, “PAINT ON OUR WALLS,” beckons all comers.

The Graffiti Shop makes an appearance in Mill Avenue Vexations in Chapter 4: The Calm Before and will probably appear a few times more as the story progresses.

See 3 comments of what people are saying about The Graffiti Shop


Coffee Plantation

Where:

680 S Mill Ave Ste 101
Tempe, AZ 85281
(480) 829-7878

What:

Coffee Plant is one of the longest standing commercial coffee places and hang-outs for a lot of visitors to the Ave—it is not, however, "Where the world meets." They may print that on their receipts, but if you want to meet anyone important, go hang out at Graffiti.

The management has changed hands a few times and they don't exactly have the best track record of treating people as they should. Coffee Plant has come under fire from multiple angles for mistreating street kids and college students alike. The law of diminishing returns also suggests that their failing business is probably because of foolish mistreatment of their clientele coupled with the rise of a Starbucks on a corner not that far away.

They still remain my favorite as a grungy commercial alternative to highly corporatized coffee houses—like Starbucks—which is rather sad, because Coffee Plantation itself is corporate. Highlighted as the wreckage of itself, Coffee Plantation appears in the prelude of Mill Avenue Vexations Volume 1. And, for those who manage to visit it before it's soon-slated urban demolition (rather than demonic demolition) sometime in 2008-2009, Vex Harrow can be found sipping peppermint hot cocoa on their patio in the moonlight during cold desert nights.

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