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Best Place to Find a Most Unusual Gift 

Critics' Pick

click to enlarge Justin Torone and Alaina Gearhart’s gift shop in the Fan is based on their taxidermy pursuits.

Ash Daniel

Justin Torone and Alaina Gearhart’s gift shop in the Fan is based on their taxidermy pursuits.

Does that special someone in your life have a bit of a morbid side? Are they seeking some kind of irony? Perhaps a tribute of a dead but intact hedgehog, pickled in solution, or a bat skeleton are great ways to say I love you.

If that’s the case, Rest in Pieces at 1 S. Stafford Ave. has you covered.

The store specializes in using taxidermy techniques to bring dead animals back to their former glory through art. You can also find bone necklaces and funerary accouterments. Co-owners and couple Justin Torone and Alaina Gearhart also have an appreciation for vintage macabre. There’s a lovely circa 1960s straitjacket, complete with questionable blood splatter, on sale. The inspiration for the store came from the couple’s penchant for giving each other skulls, which eventually expanded to wet specimens.

Rest in Pieces doesn’t kill any of the animals in its works. It gets them from farms, pet stores and nuisance wildlife insurance companies or imports from ethical sources. Many of the animals are even road kill, which Torone says made perfect practice for honing his taxidermy skills.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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