The styles in the window and the way people pay might have changed since Berk’s Store opened up shop in 1900, but the store still maintains its commitment to providing its customers high-quality casual footwear and apparel. As they peruse the store, shoppers can find boxes filled with desert boots by Clarks, sstylish flats by Toms and Dansko, and the ghosts of basketball players past wearing classic Chuck Taylor high-tops by Converse. For those who prefer to shop by phone or telegram, the store offers free shipping within the continental United States.
A Harvard Square fixture for more than 50 years, Dickson Brothers equips crafty carpenters and handy homeowners with home-improvement supplies to help execute DIY restorations. Create family-room frescoes with California and Pratt & Lambert paints ($36.99/gallon), using tidy tools such as brooms ($5.69), irons ($17.99), and vacuums ($69.99) as inspiration. Illuminate lavish living spaces with lava lamps ($17.99) while brand-new teakettles ($20.99) warm up human interiors.
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.
Experienced framers Barry Stahl and Bob Clayton built Big Picture Framing from scratch in 2000, holding meetings around an old card table as construction roared around them. Today, framers at 15 area locations craft custom frames to display artwork, photographs, and record sleeves, and shadow boxes protect three-dimensional items such as ballet slippers, macaroni art, or a swarm of wasps. Patrons can dictate all design choices, choosing from metal and wooden frames in a multitude of colors and styles, or ask for recommendations from one of Big Picture Framing's resident experts. Big Picture Framing also stocks pre-framed art, prints, and posters to spruce up bare-walled homes or a drab doghouse.
Art teacher Bessie Blum shares her love for handmade objects at Made by Me, where she teaches classes that uncover each painter's hidden creativity. Under her guidance, attendees learn the fundamentals of craftsmanship, using a potter's wheel to fashion pottery pieces or fusing glass into bowls, picture frames, or whale-proof aquarium windows. Bessie's selection of pre-made pottery, meanwhile, serves as a canvas for results-oriented DIY-ers, who can skip the creation process and go straight to adorning pieces with custom layers of colorful food-safe glaze.