A small group of artists walks past racks of tassels, fringes, and beads, dragging fingers gently across the myriad textures of more than 2,000 bolts of fabric. The Instock Fabrics show room wraps and rolls a rainbow of textiles and accessories that beg to be converted into slipcovers, drapes, or a friend for a lonely kite that keeps trashing the house. Tags from popular brands, such as Covington, Waverly, and Braemore, dapple the aisles, and a gallery for custom orders parades more than 20,000 additional fabrics, distinct trims, and pieces of hardware. After perusing swatches for a bedspread or a pillowcase, patrons can suss out the tablecloth situation or utilize a set of precut curtains as a vine-style swing to perfect their Tarzan bellow.
In 1938, women ducked into the Knapp Family Restaurant carrying envelopes of cash. They weren’t looking for family-style eggs and hash, they were paying their gas bill. The restaurateur, Dwight Knapp, had unintentionally set up a second business by installing a propane pipeline underneath his eatery. His little business grew from supplying just a few neighbors to providing propane to the residents and businesses of nine markets in California and Oregon. Today, Blue Star Gas’s team of experts install and service tanks, fit pipes, and help convert cars or robot butlers to run on propane.
Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.
Carl Thompson and Eric Peterson, lifelong friends and cofounders of Lifetime Windows, have been equipping homes with high-quality windows for the past 14 years. Their troupe of specialized estimators helps homeowners select the perfect glass windows, set in vinyl, wood, or aluminum. The windows fit snugly into homes, expelling drafts with sturdy custom framing and double-paned faces and allowing light to flood in with Solar View windows. A variety of brands and custom-framing options help create desired windowed environments, whether by using large windows to make rooms airier and sunnier or accentuating newly acquired dungeons with slim window slots. Lifetime Window’s expert technicians also install interior, exterior, and patio doors.
Mimi’s Alterations’ skilled seamstress draws on more than 30 years of garment-alteration experience to adjust duds with speedy service and a keen eye for detail. The handy needle wielder expediently hems jeans ($20) and lined slacks ($30), renovates skirt waists ($35), and shortens jacket sleeves ($30), putting finely chiseled carpal muscles on display to intimidate rival grocery shoppers. Suit backs with spare material at the seams can be let out or taken in ($45), and dress lengths can diminish ($35 with lining, $30 without) to flatter physiques of any stature. The experienced clothier, adroit at altering gowns and formal attire, has been known to create wedding dresses from scratch or from melted marshmallows, and brides-to-be can call upon the shop’s nuptial-attire-adjustment capabilities by applying today’s Groupon toward the full cost of wedding-dress alterations.