In the eight years since the start of Local Furniture Outlet, the cherished baby business of Mr. Aaron Masterson has grown up fast—from a 2,000-square-foot metal warehouse to four locations and more than 80,000 combined square feet of furniture. But the success didn't go to Aaron’s head. The proud father still traverses showrooms in casual flip-flops, enforcing a no-competition policy so that loyal staff members don’t feel pressured to make a quota. The stripped-down showrooms allow for lower price tags on direct-from-manufacturer brands such as Ashley, Simmons, and Crown Mark. Patrons are invited to peruse dining-room, living-room, and bedroom sets—or “kick the tires,” as Aaron puts it—without the pushy-push of larger retailers, who may use turkey legs to reward team members for sales.
The Ukraine, 1914. Sam Braslau, the son of a miller, has saved enough money to immigrate to America. When he arrives, he peddles clothing from a horse-drawn buggy to earn the money to send for his brothers. In 1925, the brothers open the first Braslau’s—a dry-goods store. In 1927, the brothers expand their scope, adding furniture to their inventory. With this decision, they ensure that their name would stay on the lips of design-minded homeowners for the rest of their lives and beyond.
Today, Braslau's Fine Home Furnishings has evolved into a 70,000-square-foot furniture showroom, where Blake Breslau continues to hone his family’s accumulated knowledge and experience in the furniture industry. Inside, customers browse desks, chairs, sofas, and dinettes from brands such as Ashley Furniture, Broyhill, Klaussner Home Furnishings, and LaCrosse. In the sleep center, mattresses from Sealy, Simmons, and Tempur-Pedic promise the perfect night’s sleep, or the perfect testing ground for amateur trampoline routines.
Vera Auvil's passion in life has always been cultivating knick-knacks and odds-and-ends—her "sweet nothings," as her husband used to say—so when the opportunity to purchase her own store came her way, she knew she wanted to fill its shelves and aisles with her favorite little things: clothes, jewelry, home décor, and makeup. She christened the shop Auvil's Sweet Nothings and set to work cultivating local artisans and national vendors who proffer goods such as De Novo, Waterford crystal, and Yellow Box Shoes. The skilled staffers at her vendor-based store can even help clients brighten smiles with Beaming White teeth-whitening services, make-over mugs with Jane Iredale cosmetics, and learn to cheat during shopping-cart races.
Experienced art instructors at Vino2VanGogh guide fledgling students through three-hour painting productions within the inviting walls of a cavernous, trendy studio. The studio supplies artistic equipment, gourmet cheese trays, wine openers, ice buckets, and glasses, though students should bring their own wine and Fun Dip snacks. Students follow seasoned painters as they walk through step-by-step painting processes, and a Bose sound system serenades them with the dulcet melodies of Pandora radio. The studio recommends arriving to classes 20 minutes early to mingle with fellow classmates or to warm up creative muscles with rigorous lunges.
Twenty-six years ago, working mother Karen Scott had a light-bulb moment. She envisioned a one-stop children's clothing, toy, and furniture emporium. Karen and her husband set up shop in their garage, connecting new moms and dads to high-quality baby clothes, nursery furniture, and educational toys. They meticulously researched products before creating their own catalogue, and as a result watched their enterprise blossom into a lucrative online business. Today, One Step Ahead employs their own in-house design team responsible for exclusive labels of kidswear such as Cozy Cub winter wear Sun Smarties swimwear and summer gear.
Regular meetings with a Parents' Panel keep One Step Ahead designers in touch with the needs of modern parents. Seeking out their input has led the design team to create products such as a fleece-lined car seat for comfortably toting a baby in cold weather and a hanging closet organizer for managing a child's superhero identities.
Posted 2 miles away from the historic Lexington Battle Green, the staff at Armstrong Flag Company take pride in the stars and stripes. The company specializes in American flags, made in the United States with domestic materials, and also has a vast selection of flags for countries all over the globe. Novelty flags unfurl and run up flagpoles to pay homage to sports teams and political views. Sports memorabilia, such as kitchenware, decorations, tailgating gear, and game-worn mascot collars, rounds out the selection for die-hard NFL, MLB, and NCAA fans.