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.
Baby Grand sheathes small ones in fashionable accessories and carries furniture, slings, wraps, and baby clothing for moms and moms-to-be. Cloak a trend-setting tyke in the bamboo romper ($28.50), a vintage-style onesie decorated with snaps, making it easy to remove. The funky farmyard activity gym's dangling livestock and noise-making plush toys can entertain bored babies ($65). The laminated buckle bag ($70) boasts a foldout changing pad and insulated bottle bag and comes in a variety of popular prints to fool passersby of its contents. The baby boutique's Balboa Baby adjustable sling ($56) is capable of carrying an 8–25-pound baby or roasted chicken.
When Max Schneiderman began his family’s business, it was a grocery store first and foremost. Then Schneiderman’s began to carry a few furniture items and slowly these grew to overshadow the cans of soup and produce until the furnishings finally swallowed the foodstuffs whole.
Now, Schneiderman's Furniture has spread from the Iron Range to spots throughout the Twin Cities. The showrooms stock local and foreign furniture from more than 100 manufacturers. Many items in stock can be customized in color and texture to match a homeowner's current obsession with plastic flamingos.
Rainbow Play Systems’s expansive showrooms introduce kids aged 2 to 10 to a wonderland of gym equipment, all of which is available for purchase. A multitude of swing sets with spiral slides, trapeze rings, and tire swings exercise tykes while preparing them for the physics portion of the SAT.
Mudd Lake Furniture is a rustic barn brimming with eclectic, sophisticated furniture. Owner and former NFL football player Bob Kratch hand-selects quality furnishings, lighting, artwork and home goods from reputable suppliers that purchase goods in India, Europe, Atlantis, Asia, and local flea markets. Dress up a room with a Victorian frame ($60), find forgotten isles or isthmuses on a vintage globe ($99), and or make space for medium sized draft table ($75) ideal for drawing or holding multiple ice-cold draughts. Mudd Lake Furniture is open Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by appointment.