Experienced framers Barry Stahl and Bob Clayton built Big Picture Framing from scratch in 2000, holding meetings around an old card table as construction roared around them. Today, framers at 15 area locations craft custom frames to display artwork, photographs, and record sleeves, and shadow boxes protect three-dimensional items such as ballet slippers, macaroni art, or a swarm of wasps. Patrons can dictate all design choices, choosing from metal and wooden frames in a multitude of colors and styles, or ask for recommendations from one of Big Picture Framing's resident experts. Big Picture Framing also stocks pre-framed art, prints, and posters to spruce up bare-walled homes or a drab doghouse.
Tatnuck Bead Company instructs bead lovers and handicrafters in the fine art of beading, teaching new bling-stringing skills and techniques. Experienced instructors work with newbies and master bedazzlers alike, offering tips, hints, and clever jewelling tricks to keep necklaces and bracelets looking professional. Aim both eyes at the schedule and select a class such as TBC-101 Intro to Beading. During this first-timers' session, students construct an uncomplicated pair of earrings, string a bracelet with beading wire, and learn how to attach a clasp, which keeps wristlaces safely away from greedy sidewalks. Beaders can also try the Intro to Wirework session—which covers the how-tos of designing a bracelet-and-earrings set as well as the fundamentals of wire wrapping—or miniaturize their crafting fun with the Intro to Seed Bead Stitches class, where students learn to make a simple cuff bracelet.
At the Window Scene, we specialize in window treatments and interior design. We offer in-home consultations as well as installation services for all our custom window treatments, blinds, shades, and shutters. Our design team can help you navigate through the decision-making process from inspiration to completion.
For more than half a century, Mill Stores has dispensed an enormous array of high quality, ready-to-finish wood furniture and accents to enhance homestead comfort. As a factory-finished solid-oak rocker ($249.99) supports reclining spines, a three-step stool ($19.77), crafted from solid eastern white pine, aids customers in accessing difficult to reach shelves filled with stashes of candy and bacon fat. Stockpile bottles of grapey goodness in a solid wood Tuscany wine box ($39.99) or artfully arrange CDs and DVDs in the sliding separators of a solid pine rack ($23.99). A shingled-roof doghouse ($179.99) shelters canines in safe, cozy pine, and a cast-stone scroll birdbath ($49.88) cleanses neighboring loons and fallen airplane peanuts in its stylish cement surface. Shoppers unable to find their desired décor in stock can request customized designs, which Mill Stores crafts in two weeks or less.
Gift Chalet cheers up homesick Viking-Americans with an array of home, kitchen, and clothing products that stir memories of the homeland's snowy winters, hammer-wielding thunder gods, and majestic fjords. Honor the ancestors with a knit hat flying the Norwegian flag ($8.50) or a T-shirt proclaiming one's hatred of lutefisk ($18). The best-selling almond cake pan and recipe gives Danish dessert fans all the tools they need to bake a traditional treat and present it as a housewarming gift to the next home they pillage ($10). Otherwise, add a sense of fun to a gray cubicle with a Finns Have More Steam mousepad ($5) or ward off cowardly ballpoint-pen thieves with a Lommedalen troll Viking figurine brandishing a Swedish shield ($40). Gift Chalet also supplies all the necessary
Christmas accouterments for an Ultima Thule–themed Yuletide, including Lucia candleholders ($40) and accessories. Fans of international footwear can apply their Groupon toward a pair of Dansko clogs ($110-$120).
The Tinker's Cart fills homes with Irish gifts and special-occasion accessories sourced directly from the Emerald Isle. Official Irish dirt ($9.95) from the ground of County Tipperary helps local green thumbs nourish plants, grow shamrocks from official Irish shamrock seeds ($2.95), or cultivate the ball skills of a sprouting Boston Celtic. Irish license plates ($24.95) make roadsides appear greener, and popular Inis cologne spruces the auras of both men and women. While an Irish Claddagh wedding-cake topper ($23.95) celebrates true love, Red Socks and Patriots paraphernalia celebrates a birthright. The Irish gift store also offers caps and hats ($11.95+), jewelry such as pendants, rings, and bracelets, and hosts an in-house embroidery business where apparel can get custom stitches in Irish logos and designs.
For more than 38 years, Light 'n Leisure "The Purple Buildings" has brightened abodes with high-quality, stylish lighting fixtures and home accents. Customers perusing one of three showrooms can gape at a plethora of fixtures, from interior enhancers such as the duchess antique nickel sconce ($80) to outdoor darkness repellers such as a nautical textured black wall mount ($69.99). Other fixtures, including ceiling lights, lamps, and wall lights, are also available to help send monsters into hiding and stem the tide of toe-stubbing epidemics. An array of home accents such as candle holders, decorative boxes, and vases is available for outfitting newly illuminated rooms with an eye-friendly wardrobe, and an in-store bonanza of clearance items augments the selection of domicile dressings.
Nestled in a spacious corner of the historic Sterling Cider Mill, The Clay Dog Studio inspires and equips all levels of artists to mold and polish self-made and artist-produced masterpieces. Paint your own original classmates can work solo, painting large detailed creations ($30) or invite friends to colorize intermediate ($15) figurines. Pieces are forged from clay that, like Saint Helen's childhood sandbox, consists primarily of volcanic ash. Mini Project classes instruct artistic twosomes in crafting take-home projects including holiday napkin rings or ornaments. During four-session classes, instructors oversee projects from concept to completion, covering basics such as sculpting form, overlays, paint finishing, and tasteful ways to fill end tables with something other than a series of smaller and smaller end tables.
NEO Interiors is a market laboratory in which designers test out various modern abode fillings, including imported pieces from Italy, Belgium, and Spain, to see which creations please patrons, resulting in a showroom stocked with one-of-a-kind furniture less expensive than normal retail prices. A square black coffee table ($365) supports drinks, books, and scale models of post offices on its sturdy steel legs, its steadfast efforts reflected in the mod surface of the Italian bubbles mirror ($381). Snuggle into a plush queen-size memory-foam mattress ($687) supported by the queen-size Sky bed frame with a scrolled metal headboard and cherry-colored wooden legs ($350). Home delivery incurs a $150 charge, but—similar to beard combs obtained by a five-finger discount—pick-up at the store is free.
In the mid 1960s, Murray and Ida Rotman gave the family name to their growing furniture and carpeting business, confident that it would hold employees accountable and remind them to interact with customers as one community member to another. Throughout multiple expansions and a change from the "7 Stores on 5 Floors Under 1 Roof" slogan to "New England's Largest Furniture and Carpet Store," the Rotman family has stayed true to its promise of treating people with honesty and respect. According to Furniture Today, the National Home Furnishings Association named the company a Retailer of the Year in 2011, remarking on its "outstanding customer service and involvement in community services and activities." To that end, the Rotmans have helped raise $1 million for the local Walk for the Homeless, and cofounded a furniture-exchange program that allows customers to donate their gently used furniture to a family in need.
The award-winning business owes its success not only to a commitment to core values, but to an eye-popping assortment of furniture, mattresses, and televisions—all arranged in curated displays that inspire home-decorating ideas and make people believe they’re in a house built for a hundred families. The helpful staff measures and installs carpeting or flooring and fleshes out creative plans with the design-a-room service: a free in-home consultation with a computerized analysis. The store also stays ahead of the latest industry trends and innovations, offering, for example, pieces from Paula Deen’s furniture line and budget-friendly clearance deals in a space known as the Attic.
When PYOP Studio, Inc founder Vaishali Patel learned she was pregnant, she seized the rare opportunity to put her pottery painting skills to a mischievous use. So she picked out a bisque platter, painted the words “You’re going to be a perfect daddy” on its surface, covered it with chocolates, and presented it to her husband while they were picnicking on a lake.
Now, the innovative potter strives to empower budding artists to create their own pottery keepsakes at PYOP Pottery. She provides customers with more than 200 bisque pieces and 50 vibrant paints to choose from, and even helps new parents assemble footprint artwork to preserve memories and prove the existence of feet to their future, segway-powered great-grandchildren. Though her studio encourages customer
to explore their own creative potential, on-staff artists are happy to create custom pieces.
In 1965, Popular Mechanics ran a small classified ad for Brookstone, a new catalog company that packed its pages with functional products and detail-oriented descriptions. Brookstone quickly expanded to meet the high demand for its collection of “hard-to-find tools,” and opened the door to its first retail location in 1973. Today, Brookstone’s more than 300 nationwide retail locations allow customers to test-drive its ever-growing lineup of interesting products, which range from Bluetooth-enabled massage chairs to power adapters designed for international travelers and their electronic passports. Staying true to its roots as a catalog company, Brookstone houses an even larger selection of products, each waiting patiently to be shipped, on its website.
Tucked inside historic Cider Mill Sterling, New Horizons Massage Therapy guides clients toward an increased state of relaxation with an array of therapeutic services. Nimble hands ease tension from torsos and limbs, deploying techniques from Swedish and Kriya massages, or lessen pain with joint, sciatic, and neuromuscular work. Services also include full-body green-tea or mud wraps, paraffin dips, and ear candling. Guests waiting for their appointment can pass the time shopping or bull-back riding within nearby antique and art shops.
The journey from confusion to organization doesn't have to be a long one. Often enough, it's the length of one tiny strip of metal—the staple that holds a school paper together, or attaches a cover letter to a résumé. Staples doesn't carry staples exclusively, of course, but for 26 years, they've aspired to create that same sense of effortless order. Their library of products covers everything from pencils and fire extinguishers to all-in-one machines and facility supplies, all of which aim to make jobs easier.
The technology aisles feature more advanced gear: cameras, phones, label makers, tablets, and laptops from popular brands. Onsite copy and print centers churn out professional documents, business cards, and several other types of paper and photo goods. And, though Staples' focus is work, the stores can also furnish break rooms with chairs and coffeemakers.
Katfam Photo’s collection of the latest digital printing equipment empowers the studio to produce professional-grade photos within one hour, and it also offers photo books, canvas prints, and large-format printing. Staffers work with both artists and business professionals to create letterheads, flyers, postcards, and more, with average turnaround time ranging between one hour and eight days, depending on the intricacy of the project. Katfam’s team also includes experienced photographers to shoot portraits and cover special events such as weddings.