It all started with a deflated basketball. Though longtime friends Mike Kennedy and Eric Martin scoured downtown Boston for an inflating needle to fill it, no shops in the area carried one. They were frustrated—and they realized that other Bostonians looking for athletic gear were likely frustrated too. So in 1983, they opened City Sports, a shop stocked with all the footwear, athletic apparel, and sports equipment that the metropolis had been missing.
Nearly three decades later, Mike and Eric's neighborhood business has expanded to 20 shops across the East Coast. In addition to stocking popular brands such as Vibram, The North Face, and Patagonia, the store engineers its own CS by City Sports line. Shoppers include yogis, cyclists, and tennis players—anyone seeking to outfit active lifestyles, whether they're playing a team sport or braving the hike up the world's largest gumdrop. In addition to footwear and apparel, the staff stocks fitness equipment such as kettlebells, lifting gloves, and dumbbells.
Herbert and Edwin Sherman founded their business as a resource for men with hard-to-find sizes and difficult-to-please fashion tastes. They used to cart closeout styles from East Coast factories to their storefront, traversing miles in the name of great deals and men’s fashion. Since the 1950s, local politicians, athletes, entertainers, and powerful wizards have frequented their store, finding wares from brands such as Alden, Santoni, Cole Haan, and Allen Edmonds. Sherman Brothers Shoes’s staff measures feet by hand using an old-fashioned fitting stool, matching customers with exotic, dress, casual, and work shoes, among other types.
For more than two decades, European-inspired Hope Chest has been curating a trove of designer intimates that sensuously shelter curves and help to shape physiques, earning praise from Travel + Leisure magazine and Best of Philly. Professional bra fitters break out the protractors and the levels to match AA- to H-cup bras and 30- to 42-inch band sizes with their convex counterparts. If they can’t find a perfect pairing, they can specially order other sizes. Independent, multilingual panties, hose, and shapewear are recruited from European and American lines such as Chantelle, Wolford, and Fleur't. Pajama sets round out the collection with varying degrees of sultriness, and camisoles and tights provide the missing link in the complex evolution of underwear to outerwear.
For more than four decades, Merion Art & Repro Center has supplied artists, engineers, architects, and other professionals with the building blocks of creativity. One needs only to look down an aisle for inspiration. In one area lie hundreds of paints and canvases ready to be transformed into watercolor masterpieces. In another, clay waits patiently for the right sculptor to come along and mold it into its true form: an even bigger ball of clay.
Beyond art supplies, Merion encompasses a fully equipped copy shop and a custom-framing center. Here, expert framers help clients select from thousands of frame and mat styles, honing in on the perfect design to preserve photos or parking tickets autographed by the best traffic cop in town.