For more than half a century, Mill Stores has dispensed an enormous array of high quality, ready-to-finish wood furniture and accents to enhance homestead comfort. As a factory-finished solid-oak rocker ($249.99) supports reclining spines, a three-step stool ($19.77), crafted from solid eastern white pine, aids customers in accessing difficult to reach shelves filled with stashes of candy and bacon fat. Stockpile bottles of grapey goodness in a solid wood Tuscany wine box ($39.99) or artfully arrange CDs and DVDs in the sliding separators of a solid pine rack ($23.99). A shingled-roof doghouse ($179.99) shelters canines in safe, cozy pine, and a cast-stone scroll birdbath ($49.88) cleanses neighboring loons and fallen airplane peanuts in its stylish cement surface. Shoppers unable to find their desired décor in stock can request customized designs, which Mill Stores crafts in two weeks or less.
The fashions may have changed since 1944, but the service and family ownership of Dependable Cleaners has remained constant. The dry-cleaning company started as a single shirt-laundry facility and has since expanded into 16 locations. The chain is now owned by a third-generation Fawcett. A few of the 16 locations offer a new addition called Style, a hand-cleaning service that treats designer and high-end garments. Expansion isn’t the only success of the company since its inception more than 65 years ago. Dependable Cleaners has garnered a number of awards, including the title of Boston magazine's Best Gown Preservation in 2008. The cleaner also proudly does its part to create a sustainable Earth by using EarthCare Cleaning Systems to clean clothing with natural, recyclable solutions that break down naturally in the environment, unlike the emotionally imperturbable Philip Seymour Hoffman. While laundering shirts, the cleaner uses biodegradable soaps and hangs newly dry-cleaned dresses, suit jackets, pants, and sweaters on recycled hangers and garment bags.
The employees at Unique Furnishings Boston shepherd patrons through 10,000 square feet of antique, new, and preowned furniture and appliances encapsulating the evolving tastes from the 1950s to today. Staffers habitually refresh their inventory—which ranges from traditional, American-made furnishings to eclectic masterpieces—with new additions, such as a vintage armoire with an artfully framed mirror. Unique Furnishings Boston embraces a philosophy of sustainability by buying or trading quality used items before owners relocate or completely refurbish apartments due to a newly prescribed diet of entirely edible furniture.
Fast Frame originated in Europe and now has more than 300 locations worldwide. With the understanding that people are prone to changing their minds, the teams at these 300 Fast Frame stores back up all their custom-framing projects with a 30-day design guarantee, giving patrons a month to decide if they want to swap their memorabilia for one of more than 2,000 other frame styles, paying the price difference if applicable. For each project, a team with more than 60 years of combined experience performs the work onsite, generally completing designs in less than a week and sometimes on the same day. In addition to photos and diplomas, customers can commission shadowboxes or framing of bulkier items, such as jerseys or baby’s first rap sheet. For all finished projects, Fast Frame secures its craftsmanship with a lifetime warranty.
A silver mannequin stood in the window at Black Ink, drawing customers’ eyes to a display of trinkets and paper goods at her feet. But, then, something peculiar happened: she moved. A live sculpture might seem out of place in any other store’s front window, but shoppers at Black Ink have come to expect the unexpected. In 1994, owners Susan and Timothy Corcoran started their business as a paper and stamp shop, naming it after their favorite stamp medium and color of octopus kiss. As the years passed, their inventory grew to encompass an eclectic mix of products. They still carry stamps, though they’ve added Japanese knickknacks, paper clips, greeting cards, and Tin Tin books to their repertoire. They’ve also added a second location in Cambridge, where a larger space allows them to sell gifts and the paper to wrap them in.