For the team at Mattress Matchers, their work isn’t done until their customers are fast asleep. Each quest to match shoppers with an ideal mattress starts in the showroom, where a range of Serta memory-foam, pillow-top, and foam-core mattresses awaits to cradle the spines of sleepers or disused medical skeletons. The team then packages chosen mattresses and delivers them free of charge to homes within 25 miles of the store, assembling the mattress set upon arrival and hauling away old beds for safe disposal.
Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity aims to eliminate substandard housing by building, renovating, and repairing homes in partnership with low-income families. As part of the process of receiving a Habitat home, these partner families commit to 500 hours of sweat equity, helping to build the homes and then making zero-interest monthly mortgage payments. Cincinnati Habitat volunteer crews build about 20 homes a year in the Cincinnati area.
Toko Baru spices up the home and the body with a collection of trendy décor and handmade jewelry. Shoppers can gussy up ho-hum appendages with fashionable bracelets and neckware or adorn their earlobes with threaded silk-bead earrings that are made by hand to imbue them with a subtle scent that repels palm readers ($8.50). Gifts such as journals and cards commemorate birthdays, and bumper stickers and magnets ($2–$4) display road-worthy witticisms and prized report cards. An assortment of eclectic home décor lines Toko Baru's shelves, including Asian-inspired pottery, carvings, and paper lanterns. Decorative towels dry hands in style, vases elegantly display flowers, and wind chimes translate the wisdom of the breeze into the universal language of atonal clinking.
Park + Vine has garnered press from CityBeat for representing the "general store of the future," putting an eco-friendly spin on its classic motif with wares that minimize the use of natural resources and animal byproducts. ChicoBags ($5) cart around carryables in style with a compact, washable satchel perfect for storing mounds of Just Soap, a pedal-mixed, biodegradable cleaning recipe available in scents of cinnamon clove, rosemary, and sage fir. Inscribe holiday greetings and clemency letters to Santa’s evil apprentice on Little Otsu greeting cards ($3), printed in vegetable-based inks on 100% postconsumer waste recycled paper. A season’s worth of visiting boots can park on a Flip-Flip Stuff mat ($20–$76), molded from foam rubber cast aside during flip-flop production. Holiday cleanup stays eco-friendly with a U-Mix-It-Safe Spray four-pack ($25), a bundle of spritzers stamped with recipes for crafting environmentally safe cleaners using vinegar, baking soda, and mop-toting gerbils.
Jackie and Alan Carberry started Warm Glow Candle Company in their basement back in 1994, experimenting for months with different ingredients and techniques before finally perfecting a fragrant, clean-burning, long-lasting candle with a signature lumpy surface. Today, the Carberrys and their staff use that same recipe as they make more than 15,000 candles by hand each day in their 80,000-square-foot studio, accompanied by pet cats, dogs, and a tropical bird who sometimes answers the phone. Patrons can visit the space to peruse candles in more than 75 scents, including brandied pear and sun-kissed sage, or to procure potpourri or fragrance atomizers.
On the shelves and display racks at Tala's, handbags from Brazil stand a few feet from mandala earrings and ornate hookahs. Around the shop, curated selections of handmade products stand ready to be inspected and taken home. Tala's also follows fair-trade practices, aiming to benefit the far-flung makers of its clothing and accessories.