STICKS & STONES has come a long way since the not-so-long-ago year of 2009, when Stephan Alexander, Benjamin Posin, and Marc Ishida first founded the accessories company. Deeply rooted in its well-researched materials, the line of jewelry, cuff links, and tie clips is fashioned from combinations of rare wood and other high-end organic materials like shed antlers (meaning the animals lost them naturally), refined nuts from South American palms, fossilized walrus ivory, and even the teeth of an extinct mackerel shark. (Ishida stresses they would never use materials for which the animal had been killed.)

In the years since, they've won themselves a loyal following for their work, which marries its exotic origins to simple, wearable shapes that nonetheless draw comment—how could one resist inquiring about a two-finger ring's simple bar of blue woolly mammoth tusk punctuated with a small black diamond? Now, Sticks & Stones has swung open the doors to their long-discussed brick 'n' mortar the Specialty Shop, which celebrated its grand opening on Saturday, February 4, with a well-attended shindig, featuring big trays of sushi and a sidewalk photo booth.

The addition (along with that of new neighbor Reveille up the street) marks a much-needed gust of young, local energy to NW 23rd, which has seen an influx of corporate chain stores while suffering the loss of independents, such as the recent departure of IDOM. And they're not alone: The store is an addition to Reynolds Optical, whose position as a local business for over a century led to a mutual admiration and mentorship between Sticks & Stones and Reynolds owner Gary Piehl. Additionally, they've brought on likeminded brands from across North America to fill out the shop with apparel, including Muttonhead, Pvblic, and Wool and the Gang, and they plan to feature special discounts, DJs, and complimentary beer every Saturday through February just to introduce themselves to the neighborhood.

As Sticks & Stones continues to develop on creative and retail fronts, Ishida stresses that the sky is the limit, with the door open for the company to expand into its own apparel, furniture, or whatever other product ideas strike their fancy. "We're inspired by the craftsmanship that goes into the pieces," he says, and their fans show no sign of flagging. The Specialty Store, 524 NW 23rd,