When Stephen Staples comes across an ancient ash can or a board stripped of its nails, he studies it as if it’s the Mona Lisa. What appear to the common eye to be scraps are seen by Stephen for what they truly are—the building materials of early New England homesteads and factories. With his family, Stephen repurposes the salvaged materials into handcrafted kitchen tables, headboards, armoires, and benches.
“All this stuff is from somewhere special. … You look at the piece, you see the history, you know what went on," he says. "They say the piece can’t talk. They do talk, you just need to know how to listen.” For those not fluent in the language of reclaimed materials, Stephen includes a certificate of authenticity with each piece that details its age and probable history, including which pilgrims stored their socks in it. For his meticulous handiwork and passion for history, Stephen has been featured on This Old House and WCVB's Chronicle and in Design New England magazine and the Boston Herald.
Since 1923, Granite City Electric has illuminated local dwellings with high-quality interior and exterior lighting fixtures. Customers perusing one of the four showrooms or the online store can ogle a plethora of Norwell lighting fixtures, including the Onion Collection of outdoor enhancers. Stylishly light a dim patio with cottage onion wall ($81.23 for the small) or classic onion wall ($116.96 for the small, $151.62 for the medium) fixtures, or install a cottage onion post ($107.80) to shower backyard plants with artificial light while the sun takes its after-dinner snooze. To help homeowners navigate the confusing world of illumination, Granite City Electric employs a seasoned showroom team that can show customers the latest trends in lighting design as well as design lighting layouts.
Phred's Drug meets customers varied retail needs with an eclectic selection of food products, beverages, and supplies. Train for a marathon with a 24-pack of 500-milliliter Aquafina water bottles ($4.49), or feed a baby calf with a gallon of one-percent low fat milk ($2.79). Sleep-deprived customers can pick up an 11.5-ounce can of Autocrat premium ground coffee ($3.99), prepare for a party with a 1.75-liter bottle of Seagram's vodka ($14.99), or begin construction on a full-scale aluminum replica of King Tut's pyramid with a 30-pack of 12-ounce Coors Light cans ($21.99). The shop prides itself on old-fashioned customer service, and the friendly staff guarantees callers a non-robotic voice on the other end of the line.
Furniture from more than 15 national and international sources fills Northeast Furniture Direct, a store that sells home furnishings at factory-direct prices. Shoppers can peruse memory-foam mattresses, leather sofas, formal dining sets, and more, all still wrapped in their factory packaging and bearing their manufacturers' full warranties. Each week, the store announces its public business hours; patrons can also visit during scheduled one-on-one appointments.