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.
The brand American Apparel, which recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, conjures up images of stylish and well-fitting fashion basics. It also likely brings to mind sassy advertisements featuring long-haired beauties in natural makeup posing in skin-bearing bodysuits and loungewear.
But what many don't know about the brand?despite its name and the slice of apple pie that comes with every purchase?is that all of its clothes are made in America. Everything from sewing and cutting to accounting and marketing happens in one building in downtown Los Angeles, and the rest occurs within a 30-mile radius. Not only that, every slim-fitting pair of pants, spandex bodysuit, and v-neck T-shirt is made in a sweatshop-free environment.
Plus, keeping everything in house means the company eliminates unnecessary and wasteful factors, such as shipping fuel and packing materials, as well as provides jobs to Angelenos, instead of outsourcing them.
What began as a small operation out of founder Jennifer Velarde’s studio apartment is now a celebrated handbag business with three stores in two cities, an online boutique, and a slew of media accolades from magazines such as InStyle, Good Housekeeping, and Real Simple. The business owes its proliferation to Velarde’s touted lineup of custom-designed shoulder bags, bridal clutches, and totes. The creative trendsetter also provides her customers with a bevy of fabric swatches and styles so they can create their own designs during in-store or at-home handbag parties.
Boston CityWalks’ owner, Alan Maltzman, loves to show his passion and knowledge for his city. At Boston CityWalks, he and his coterie of guides lead six different tours that roam the city’s historic cobblestones, highlighting areas such as Harvard Square, the waterfront, Beacon Hill, and various Jewish cultural sites. He can also design a custom tour for any occasion such as family vacations, engagements, birthdays, reunions, and business meetings.
The friendly staff will answer any and all questions with a professional demeanor that makes unmentionables comfortably mentionable. They are also masters of measurements, so take advantage while in the store. A properly fitting bra can reduce back strain and annoying fractal imprints left behind from too-tight undergarments. Pick up a throng of the comfortable Hanky Panky thongs ($18 apiece), or splurge on an Aubade bra ($127) that feels more like an extension of your body than an article of clothing. Wrap up inside a luxurious Mary Green kimono silk robe ($90), or take this Groupon to bed with an Eberjey pajama set ($110). Tell your girlfriends to grab today's deal so you can take your time browsing for your next favorite pair of underwear with the ladies.
Voted Best Cigar Shop in the 2010 Boston A-List contest, Cigar Masters houses a fragrant collection of fine cigars and smoking accessories in a sophisticated setting. The shop maintains an aromatic armory of over 50 brands of chic cigars, from time-tested classics like Romeo y Julieta ($10), to specialty smokecicles such as La Flor Dominicana ($13). Refined unwinders can send each other sophisticated smoke signals with the smoldering bouquet of Liga Privadas ($16 each) or replace their signature Slim Jim with a more dignified Don Pepin Garcia ($10). The knowledgeable staff receives ongoing education, keeping them keen on the latest lighters, cigar cases, and stylish smoking bibs. A luxurious, urbane lounge creates an ideal haven for aficionados who wish to bask in the glow of varnished wood and leather seats amidst an aura of refined conversation and stuffed trophy scotches. The lounge offers a full selection of libations and requires proper evening attire after seven. Cigar Masters supports a variety of local charities, including the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Back Bay Association.