The Ukraine, 1914. Sam Braslau, the son of a miller, has saved enough money to immigrate to America. When he arrives, he peddles clothing from a horse-drawn buggy to earn the money to send for his brothers. In 1925, the brothers open the first Braslau’s—a dry-goods store. In 1927, the brothers expand their scope, adding furniture to their inventory. With this decision, they ensure that their name would stay on the lips of design-minded homeowners for the rest of their lives and beyond.
Today, Braslau's Fine Home Furnishings has evolved into a 70,000-square-foot furniture showroom, where Blake Breslau continues to hone his family’s accumulated knowledge and experience in the furniture industry. Inside, customers browse desks, chairs, sofas, and dinettes from brands such as Ashley Furniture, Broyhill, Klaussner Home Furnishings, and LaCrosse. In the sleep center, mattresses from Sealy, Simmons, and Tempur-Pedic promise the perfect night’s sleep, or the perfect testing ground for amateur trampoline routines.
For more than 60 years, The Blossom Shop Florist has intricately arranged flowers, plants, and fruit baskets. The large selection of fresh and tropical flowers can be mixed and matched to create a floral display appropriate for special occasions, including birthdays, Valentine's Day, weddings, funerals, and monster-truck rallies. Peace lilies ($65), azalea baskets ($40), and a variety of mixed bouquets ($85+) are appropriate for everyday occasions; a dozen roses ($95) expresse love and two-dozen roses ($165) expresses even more love. In addition to flowers, fruit baskets are also available, such as the fruit-and-blooms basket, a mix of fresh seasonal fruit and a blooming azalea ($85), and the gourmet-and-fruit basket, which contains fresh fruit and a spread of epicurean edibles ($65).
The pink banner that curls around the fa?ade of Yolanda's Specialty Cakes calls to mind the creamy fondant streaks that grace many of the eponymous owner's specialty confections. Though Yolanda Amaya has been perfecting her craft since 1977, many locals are just beginning to hop on her train of sweet treats thanks to readers of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, who voted her shop the Best of the Best in 2010. On-hand consultants help brides- and grooms-to-be select the perfect theme for their wedding cake, and decorators spell out birthday greetings with swirls of icing. Yolanda and her bakers sculpt cakes into a variety of shapes and styles, from tiered towers to wearable quincea?era dresses.
Bonnie's Florist is the home of a floral designer who has been in the business for more than 30 years. They offer a wide variety of flowers and floral setups such as roses or wreaths. They also gladly welcome special orders for floral arrangements to mark special occasions.
In the eight years since the start of Local Furniture Outlet, the cherished baby business of Mr. Aaron Masterson has grown up fast?from a 2,000-square-foot metal warehouse to four locations and more than 80,000 combined square feet of furniture. But the success didn't go to Aaron?s head. The proud father still traverses showrooms in casual flip-flops, enforcing a no-competition policy so that loyal staff members don?t feel pressured to make a quota. The stripped-down showrooms allow for lower price tags on direct-from-manufacturer brands such as Ashley, Simmons, and Crown Mark. Patrons are invited to peruse dining-room, living-room, and bedroom sets?or ?kick the tires,? as Aaron puts it?without the pushy-push of larger retailers, who may use turkey legs to reward team members for sales.
In both its physical and virtual incarnations, Enchantments Scrapbooking & More carries a massive collection of supplies for the crafty memory keeper. An array of albums opens up the creative arena, ranging from the Victorian elegance of the 6"x6" Artisan design with its black and white floral pattern ($12.99), to the impressionistic naturalism of the Susan Winget Botanical 12"x12" album ($19.99). For an expansion of the artistic space, Enchantments stocks row upon row of paper, great for plastering with pictures or folding into elegant headwear.