At Rachel’s Roses, the knowledgeable staff helps customers select colorful, fresh floral arrangements and gifts to commemorate any special occasion. The shop’s bounty of traditional and contemporary bouquets send a heartfelt message such as “Happy graduation”, “Get well soon”, or “Congratulations on training your gerbil to fetch the paper.” The Basket of Sunshine, a cheerful UV-free collection of white and yellow buds ($34.99), brightens up even the gloomiest of days, and the Red Hot & Fabulous heats things up with a romantic mélange of roses, carnations, and hypericum ($49.99). The flower peddlers also stock an assortment of potted plants ($24.99–$99.99) and gourmet baskets ($59.99–$79.99).
Helmed by a professional duo of seamstresses, Fabric Shapers steers apprentices of all skill levels through two-hour private sewing lessons tailored to their individual goals and projects. Amateur stitchers can absorb basic threading techniques as those with prior knowhow learn to tackle more advanced subjects, such as linebackers made from yarn or fashion-design concepts. Acquire the skills to hem your own pants, or study the art of alteration for snugger, more flattering duds. Instructors can also guide students as they chart schematics for a custom garment styled from preexisting apparel, transforming an obsolete dress into a chic blazer or several hundred blindfolds for an upcoming consortium of piñata aficionados.
It might be hard to believe considering its vast array of products, but Sears, Roebuck and Co. began with one accessory: watches. In 1886, Richard W. Sears bought a box of unwanted watches from a jeweler, thinking he could turn a profit by selling them. He was correct and committed to the watch business by hiring Alvah C. Roebuck, an experienced watchmaker.
As time went on, though, their business expanded its umbrella far beyond what people wore on their wrists. Sears became known as the place to shop for almost any appliance, from sewing machines to those magical boxes that create water from nothing and clean your clothes.
Today, the stores stock clothing, accessories, electronics, kitchen equipment, tools for outdoor living, and home decor. This variety is sustained by Sears's proprietary brands—Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard, to name a few—and other national names that populate the shelves.
In 1958, Guy Day and Dale Williams founded their mattress store with a focus on high-quality products and excellent customer service. After 10 years, the partners unveiled their line of handcrafted, personalized mattress sets under the name Verlo, a combination of their wives' names—Verna and Lois. After more than 40 years, the company has perfected its craft, manufacturing customized mattresses and selling them directly through their show rooms. The stock ranges from plush pillowtops to firm sets, both capable of supporting healthy sleeping patterns and cutthroat pillow fights for years to come.
The florists at Bel Aire Flowers have been assembling visual and olfactory works of art since 1964, arranging vibrant and elegant pieces for any number of special occasions. Much like the curators of the Smithsonian, they restock their selection daily, bringing tropical flowers in from Hilo, Hawaii, and buying blooming plants from local growers. As professional FTD florists, they also prepare exclusive and branded arrangements, delivering their bouquets throughout Milwaukee as well as Waukesha and Lake Counties. In addition to blooms, the florist also lines Bel Aire's shelves with gifts and keepsakes, including teddy bears, balloons, and candies.
Zazzle.com is an intensely popular provider of personalized presents, stamping T-shirts, coffee mugs, postage, greeting cards, and more with a singular seal of your own idiosyncratic identity. Quickly customize a basic men’s T-shirt ($12.95–$19.95) to commemorate your stellar parking-lot rugby season, or go for a cutely stylized greeting card ($2.95 and up, discounts available for mass quantities). Other popular items include self-designed mugs ($13.95–$22.10) and absurdly cute pet clothes ($18.95 and up). Since each item is created on the spot by Zazzle’s nondenominational gift-making elves, more complicated orders and items may take longer to produce and ship.