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.
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.
Vera Auvil's passion in life has always been cultivating knick-knacks and odds-and-ends—her "sweet nothings," as her husband used to say—so when the opportunity to purchase her own store came her way, she knew she wanted to fill its shelves and aisles with her favorite little things: clothes, jewelry, home décor, and makeup. She christened the shop Auvil's Sweet Nothings and set to work cultivating local artisans and national vendors who proffer goods such as De Novo, Waterford crystal, and Yellow Box Shoes. The skilled staffers at her vendor-based store can even help clients brighten smiles with Beaming White teeth-whitening services, make-over mugs with Jane Iredale cosmetics, and learn to cheat during shopping-cart races.
Experienced art instructors at Vino2VanGogh guide fledgling students through three-hour painting productions within the inviting walls of a cavernous, trendy studio. The studio supplies artistic equipment, gourmet cheese trays, wine openers, ice buckets, and glasses, though students should bring their own wine and Fun Dip snacks. Students follow seasoned painters as they walk through step-by-step painting processes, and a Bose sound system serenades them with the dulcet melodies of Pandora radio. The studio recommends arriving to classes 20 minutes early to mingle with fellow classmates or to warm up creative muscles with rigorous lunges.
HGTV and House Hunters- featured interior designer James Charles and his team create custom design plans to guide do-it-yourself redecorating projects. Clients submit room measurements and photographs, then pick a color palette and choose from a list of styles ranging from traditional to contemporary to DMV-office chic. Within five weeks, Charles and his crew will send out colorful presentation boards depicting a custom full-room makeover. Armed with an included shopping list, customers can purchase paint, furniture, and other materials as needed, and can decorate at their own pace, arranging items according to detailed schematic diagrams or the couch’s horoscope. Customers can also refer to an online guide for help solving design dilemmas such as where to place a crib or how to modify decor to accommodate a rambunctious chia pet.
At PersonalizationMall's bustling headquarters in Burr Ridge, Illinois, skilled technicians and graphic designers render customer-submitted family photos and children's names onto coffee mugs, photo frames, and T-shirts. Gift-making artisans sandblast anniversary dates into glass chalices, while textile experts embroider his-and-hers towels and baby blankets. Family names are emblazoned across more than 5000 different products, such as garden stones, golf balls, and handsome gift boxes. Shipping times as short as one day allow for the immediate gifting of presents that convey messages such as ?happy birthday? or ?forgive me for falling asleep in your rose bush?. Customers can preview their customized design before purchasing to help fashion the ideal gift or individualized party favor.