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.
"Funky" isn't a word typically associated with hardware stores, but that's exactly how Amy and David Doyle describe Sunset Ridge Home & Hardware. Upon opening the place in 1995, the pair envisioned a one-stop hardware and home-improvement haven that shook off the sawdust and embraced the unconventional in ways that didn't include slapping googly eyes on every two-by-four. That's why the San Antonio Express-News' $hopGirl can cite a unique selection of Curly Girl wall hangings, hooded towels, and Texas cookbooks beside traditional tools and housewares sourced from Ace Hardware. An epic spread of Benjamin Moore paints and Breville kitchen products create an ocular feast for fixer-uppers as handcrafted soaps and fragrant candles ignite olfactory senses. Seasoned staffers roam the aisles, touting talents that include knife sharpening, key cutting, and lamp repair in addition to several other services.
For more than 60 years, Kwal Paint's team has designed colors to complement almost any décor, continually refreshing the palette of more than 1,600 shades to reflect trends and advancements in interior decorating. To wit: EnviroKote paints are made from eco-friendly, raw materials and contain no VOC. Additionally, online virtual color-visualizing applications help homeowners realize the abode of their dreams. As ever, the knowledgeable staff is on hand to guide customers through common issues such as blistering or how to revamp garden gnomes stuck in last season's styles.
At more than 1,200 Mattress Firm locations around the country, shoppers sink into plush mattresses, recline on firm beds, and belly-flop onto pillow tops. Knowledgeable staffers can help customers create an ideal bedtime environment by dispensing advice based on sleep preferences and illuminating the difference between the many kinds of mattresses. And to the delight of their customers, much of Mattress Firm's bedding wears the label of a premium brand, such as Sealy, Serta, Simmons Beautyrest, or Stearns & Foster.
Now that you've finished celebrating New Year's in Paris, you'll need a way to preserve all that art you "borrowed" from the Louvre. Today's Groupon gets you $100 worth of custom framing at Fastframe for $40. Fastframe will frame pretty much anything, having once framed a 13-foot anaconda skin—use up to three Groupons per order if you need to frame larger items such as Soviet-era propaganda murals, conceptual art installations, and annoying little brothers.