Occasionally, an Italian exporter will ask the owner of Poggi Bonsi why she named her business after Poggibonsi, a small town in Tuscany. The answer is simple: it's fun to say. It may be even more fun to peruse the shop's shelves, which hold handpicked items from artisans across the pond. The woman who owns the shop seeks out suppliers who practice crafts the same way her ancestors did. This explains Poggi Bonsi's extensive stock of Italian ceramics and French linens. They supplement this timeless selection with modern appliances, kitchen gadgets, and bakeware.
Smoke and fierce heat rise from a battalion of Weber gas grills and Big Green Egg smokers as barbecue docents line up in front of them, ready to wrangle rafts of raw meat into expertly grilled, smoked, and sauced feasts. In classes that range from three to seven hours, Phoenix BBQ and Grilling School's instructors impart their knowledge of sauces and marinades. They also teach students how to brine, smoke, and grill ingredients such as ribs, turkeys, chickens, peppers, pork, and veggies, all of which are provided. The three dudes in charge have been leading classes since 1998. Head honcho Stu McMullen draws upon myriad cooking classes and international travels to develop exciting recipes, while "sauce king" Eric Viken introduces sauces that can enchant palates and save accidentally overcooked meats. The barbecue experts hold classes onsite or in private backyards, enabling the family cat to finally learn to do something productive with its hunting gifts.
Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.
The founder of Moe's Home Collection, Moe Samieian, began his enterprise with a Vancouver rug store in 1985, eventually getting into the furniture business and steadily increasing his number of storefronts. Today, Moe's four locations boast a big selection of custom chairs, sofas, and desks, conversation-starting artwork and wall decorations, and rare cabinetware and Chinese antiques. Like a royal estate or lucky cow, the company has passed from father to son, with Moe Jr. sourcing exotic furniture pieces from as far away as Jakarta and Beijing, and consulting with homeowners to create one-of-a-kind Italian leather sofas or made-to-order contemporary pieces.
Mattress Depot USA unites a team of bedding experts to help customers end restless nights with a mattress that meets their individual sleep specifications. The sleep store's plenitude of private-label and national brands include Sealy, Restonic, and Lady Americana. Memory-foam mattresses, like sociable elephants, never forget a human form, cradling silhouettes in a firm, spongy embrace. Customers have up to 120 days to evaluate their mattress for its comfort capacity, and can consult with one of the shop's sleep consultants prior to purchase, reducing the likelihood of an imperfect fit.
Although most chefs have their own unique style of peeling, dicing, and julienning veggies, they all have one thing in common: they each require precise, sharp knives. At Excalibur Cutlery and Gifts, the staff ensures that tools remain as close to their factory condition as possible. During sharpening services, a water-cooled belt system and buffing wheels restore a piercing blade while removing a minimal amount of steel. They can sharpen kitchen, pocket, and hunting knives, as well as dull scissors and razors.
The shop also stocks premium models of nearly every edge they sharpen. The cutlery department stocks German-made Wusthof and Henckels, Swiss-made Forschner, and Oregon-grown Kershaw knives. Ideal for camping trips, pocket knives come in both blade and multitool varieties. More genteel wares include manicure sets and old-fashioned shaving kits. Excalibur also boasts a collection of swords for the collector or CEO whose business suit needs extra panache.