For Meredith McCord, looking at a piece of pottery brings back decades worth of memories. McCord started The Mad Potter in 1998, and since those early days, she's used her kiln to immortalize countless special moments. She traveled to hospitals to capture the footprints of newborns, helped a young man create a dessert plate with the words "Will you marry me?" emblazoned across it, and auctioned off items for charity. Yet some of her fondest memories center on the day-to-day interactions with customers, specifically when they return to pick up their fired pieces and utter three words of amazement: "I did that?"
The Mad Potter has since expanded into three Houston-area locations, where children and adults come to paint their own works of art or create replicas of their ancient ancestors' garden gnomes. More than 500 bisqueware items line the shelves of each studio, including coffee mugs, plates, and figurines. Staffers then help visitors select from more than 54 available colors of paint and supply them with everything else they might need, including brushes and stencils. The staff can even take things over and create more intricate designs—while still consulting closely with the customer. Whatever route a person chooses, there's always time for a sip of wine or beer; the River Oaks location sells wine and beer while Bellaire and Woodway maintain a BYOB policy.
Having resolved at a young age to pursue his passion for green building, Jeff Kaplan created the Urban Land Institute's Young Leaders Program when he was just 21 years old. In late 2007, Jeff started New Living, a green building and home store whose high environmental standards earned the shop a B Corporation certification. Today, New Living sells exclusively eco-friendly products from ethical businesses, stimulating the local green economy while making green materials more affordable and accessible. Staff members passionate about responsible consumerism often help customers interested in repurposing and refinishing items. Kaplan's efforts at revitalizing Houston's small businesses and affinity for wearing capes earned him the title of Green Hero from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Unitech Wireless's electronics experts improve the stability and usability of consumer mobile devices with personal, in-store services. Technicians can breathe new digital life into waning devices by repairing cracked screens, reseating new memory modules, and wiping away smudges left by talkative teenage parakeets. Devices usually find themselves back in owners' palms within a few days with replacement parts from the original manufacturer in lieu of third-party fabricators. Unitech Wireless's associates also provide comprehensive cellular solutions, such as software suites and asset recovery, for those with technology-driven businesses.
When Extreme Makeover: Home Edition needed to outfit the Kubena family’s home, they turned to local closet expert David Linda. He and his company, SpaceMan, donated seven closets and a pantry, as well as a team of trained technicians to handle the installation. Giving back is nothing new for David and his company, which frequently provides materials to local Habit for Humanity projects. He brings that same helpful spirit to private jobs, striving to simplify homes by offering custom storage solutions. SpaceMan’s technicians collaborate with homeowners, molding the right closet to a home office or kitchen or saving space with an easy-to-conceal Murphy bed. All designers are certified by the Association of Closet and Storage Professionals and offer free in-home design consultations to jump-start the process. SpaceMan’s quality products and service have earned them exclusive partnerships with many of Houston’s homebuilding companies, allowing their work to be seen in multimillion-dollar homes and well-regarded beaver dens about town. All closet and storage systems are manufactured in Houston and carry a lifetime warranty that covers system repairs and replacements.
Custom glass fixtures not only enhance the appearance of homes, but the value as well. The Glass Guys are the folks who craft those shower enclosures, table tops, and patterned plate windows that drastically upgrade household beauty and worth. Vanity mirrors, mirrored walls, and mirrored furniture are among their claims to fame, too. In fact, their skills are so boundless they can even design and cut glass staircases with glass railings. Aside from designing and cutting custom glass pieces, they also fix all manner of glassy components.