In 1965, Popular Mechanics ran a small classified ad for Brookstone, a new catalog company that packed its pages with functional products and detail-oriented descriptions. Brookstone quickly expanded to meet the high demand for its collection of “hard-to-find tools,” and opened the door to its first retail location in 1973. Today, Brookstone’s more than 300 nationwide retail locations allow customers to test-drive its ever-growing lineup of interesting products, which range from Bluetooth-enabled massage chairs to power adapters designed for international travelers and their electronic passports. Staying true to its roots as a catalog company, Brookstone houses an even larger selection of products, each waiting patiently to be shipped, on its website.
People are so concerned with showing their love on Valentine's Day that they often forget to capture it instead. Photography is a proven method for freezing time and securing momentous memories on rectangular sheets of gloss. With a spacious, state-of-the-art photo studio built on two acres of photogenic land, Christopher Norris Photographers is home to four expert photographers with more than 30 years of picture-taking experience each. Commemorate the visible love you share with another, your family, and your infant cousin's newly sprouted third row of teeth, or record a new set of headshots to replace the ones you glued inside all the magazines in your local bookshop.
Elegant Ice Creations’s certified master carver Aaron Costic, the National Ice Carving Association's 2011 tour champion, employs 22 years of experience as he chisels custom ice sculptures and luges for a variety of occasions. Sculptures are carved from 300-pound blocks ($200–$275) into seasonal shapes, wedding designs, or company logos as well as custom drink-holding luges perfect for distributing ice-cold beverages at rowdy parties. Sculptures can be illuminated with the customer's choice of white, blue, green, red, violet, or color-changing LED lights. Talented teams of frost technicians deliver and set up icy artworks with lighting and a drip pan, which collects leftover water so it can be thrown into the air to water thirsty clouds.
A cascading wall of illumination welcomes customers to Lighting Liquidators & More's bustling warehouse space, which brims with overstocked interior and exterior fixtures. Armed with an arsenal of Promethean products forged by Kichler, Alico, and domesticated lightning bugs, radiant staff members guide guests through a labyrinth of floor lamps ($75.99+) and wall sconces ($33.60+) that inspire envy among the most luminous roadside flares. Landscape lighting ($44.80+) spruces up nocturnal hours by elucidating shadow-bound walkways and redirecting leaky dirigibles toward the nearest helium vent.
Four generations of family have manned Kaplan's Furniture & Mattress Gallery since 1936, keeping its expansive showrooms stocked with name-brand pieces and designs from Klaussner Home Furnishings. Customers can count sheep or the ghosts of sheep past on mattress and box-spring sets ($149+) from Serta, Sealy, and Restonic memory foam. Serve spreads on a complete dinette set ($199), or curl up into the cushions of a Designers Mark, Ashley, Lane, or Southern Motion recliner ($199+). Klaussner’s wide selection of fabric choices allows customers to customize many products to match their personal interior-design style or the color of their favorite eye, with Klaussner sofas available in more than 100 fabrics. Kaplan's also has complete living room and bedroom packages available, as well as a wide selection of kid's furniture including loft, bunk, and trundle beds ($299+).
When people come to The Salvage Yard Resale Shoppe to drop off items their family has outgrown, they're greeted by another family: three generations of women who curate well-kept housewares. The constantly changing inventory includes everything from costume jewelry and knickknacks to oil paintings and dishes. There's furniture as well, including family-sized dining tables, upholstered couches, and china cabinets. Shoppers might even get lucky and find local memorabilia, such as vintage Indians or Buckeyes pennants.