Drill bits twist, measuring tape unfurls, and saws chomp through two-by-fours in ACE Hardware, where shelves dangle with scores of tools and other home-improvement essentials. Wall pigment by Ace Paint and Benjamin Moore beams across the color spectrum as faucet parts and cabinet hardware retool aging abodes and jury-rigged time machines. Large appliances, such as Honeywell space heaters, Perfect Aire air conditioners, and Cadet thermostats, keep indoor air at a comfortable temperature. Outside, bags of seed and compost join charcoal grills to brighten backyard celebrations as rolling hand trucks heft heavy lumber purchases or prefab doghouses for socialite canines. Tools, electrical tape, and other handyman essentials round out each location's array of fixative and creative supplies.
In 1982, brothers Jerry and Kenny Bell headed off to Arizona's Universal Technical Institute to learn the ins and outs of the HVAC field. When they came back to Elk Grove, they earned their chops at various companies while helping out with their father's new pizza parlor, Pizza Bell. In 1991, they decided to strike out on their own?two men in a pickup truck on a mission to repair and maintain heating and air-conditioning systems. Their only advertisements were flyers pasted on top of Pizza Bell boxes and willing strangers' foreheads.
They've come a long way since pizza-based advertising, employing an experienced staff of industry certified, professionally trained, background-checked and drug-tested technicians who thoroughly tune up air-conditioning units with a 30-point cleaning, calibration, and fine-tuning process. In addition to replacing heating and air-conditioning systems, their technicians can parachute to homes to inspect, maintain, and repair entire HVAC and furnace systems.
Family-owned and operated since the mid-1970s, Fregosi and Co. Paints is a local paint business and retailer of Benjamin Moore products. The blossoming company features four Bay Area locations, including this friendly South-of-Market showroom. Old-fashioned, knowledgeable customer service here comes straight from one of three generations of Fregosis and their staff, answering all paint-related questions with easy charm and industry know-how, but none of the pretension that can sometimes overwhelm folks at similar shops. These guys may provide the industrial-sized paint supplies and services to large-scale hotels and office buildings, but they are always happy to assist small contractors and DIY-ers with issues from color matching to tricky finishes. The showroom also supplies your peripheral paint needs, like tape, brushes and dropcloths.
The green-thumbed technicians at Gardens by Marsetti cultivate lush, thick lawns with aeration and fertilization services. Clients consult with lawn specialists to describe their yard-related goals, such as achieving grass that's as comfortable to bare feet as socks made of wookie fur. Technicians thoroughly aerate grassy areas, removing plugs of soil to allow oxygen, water, and nutrients to enter the ground and nourish roots. After aerating lawns, technicians determine how much fertilizer is appropriate to foster grass health before feeding eager turf.
A Southwest-based company for more than a century, Frazee Paint and its team of manufacturers are well acquainted with the unique climactic conditions of the region. Always pulling from the latest technology, their technicians design each of their paint and coating products to withstand dry heat, sparse rainfall, and showers of chewing tobacco from passing cowboys. Their quality paints, wall-coverings, wood-care products, and painter's tools stock the shelves of more than 125 retail locations throughout California, Arizona, and Nevada, as well as international dealers in Mexico, China, and Guam.
The Smiths don't have a family tree. Instead, their legacy stretches back through a long vine, all the way to the heirloom tomato farmers of Spain. In the 1970s, Janice, Ken, Bill, and Shirley Smith opened Smith Family Farm to carry on that legacy. Their staff has since grown to include cousins, other relatives, and family friends, all of whom lend a hand in growing the farm's seasonal produce. The literal fruits of their labor arrive at The Smith Family Farm Fruit Stand, which showcases a rotating selection of fresh basil, strawberries, peppers (both hot and sweet), and various other fruits and veggies.
The farm itself also welcomes visitors. Throughout the growing season, its gardens invite families to pick their own fresh fruits and vegetables, including plums, apricots, and squash. The farmers themselves double as educators, and their spring tours for elementary and preschool-aged children lift the curtain on farm life?which, of course, includes opportunities to dance along to bluegrass music.