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.
The top-brass twisters at Auntie Anne's, one of the world's largest handrolled, soft-pretzel franchises, create enough twirly treats every year to wrap the Earth in deliciously salted dough three times over. Pretzel professionals prepare a wide array of sweet-and-salty snacks, spiraling them into ornate knots with the delicacy of a grandmotherly sailor and baking them to golden brown in full view of customers.
Located about 25 miles from Columbus, Rock Dove Farm harvests 80 varieties of vegetables and herbs during the growing season, stuffing weekly baskets full of chemical-free produce that's generally plucked within 24 hours of delivery. The full-size produce sampler staves off hunger pangs with a week’s worth of vitamin-packed nourishment that can feed two to four omnivores for seven meals or one malevolent vegetable monster during one night of fiber-heavy terror. Basket assortments vary by the time of year; shoppers this week are privy to a selection that includes leafy arugula, bunch turnips, cauliflower, braising mustard greens, baby leeks, peas, spring radishes, and broccoli.