Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity aims to eliminate substandard housing by building, renovating, and repairing homes in partnership with low-income families. As part of the process of receiving a Habitat home, these partner families commit to 500 hours of sweat equity, helping to build the homes and then making zero-interest monthly mortgage payments. Cincinnati Habitat volunteer crews build about 20 homes a year in the Cincinnati area.
If its full name––Two Fat Guys Summerfield Ace Hardware––isn't a clue about this store's unconventional nature, maybe its pet shop is. Or perhaps that distinction belongs to its owners' related endeavor: not only do Rick and Smokey inspire ambitious homeowners with rows of home-improvement implements, but they also encourage handiness by taking to the airwaves with a weekly hardware radio show. Summerfield Ace Hardware also doubles as a U-Haul Center, and animals are welcome, especially if they're able to drive a U-Haul but also if they just want to sniff around the pet shop. Prepping for barbecue season is a cinch on these premises: in the words of Rick and Smokey, "With a name like the Two Fat Guys you might expect that we have a complete grilling center and we offer assembly and delivery." Salespeople are trained to answer nearly any home-improvement question their customers ask, and a wide selection of hardware, paint, plumbing, and electrical supplies shares space with gifts, home decor, and housewares.
As the owners of Love Letters, sisters Molly, Abbey, Carlie, Jessica, and their mom Gayle combine colorful, monogrammed gifts and accessories with a touch of southern style. Nifty needlework is included in each price, dancing across fetching baskets and blankets to add a personal touch and an easy way to identify humor. Donning many colors and prints, the Market Tote ($35) ably carts cargo such as groceries, beach supplies, and smaller totes filled with still smaller totes. Food-fight instigators confidently clutch Scout bags and bins ($28–$32), whose recycled materials wipe clean with ease. Quilted Stephen Joseph backpacks ($28–$35), carefully crafted for young scholars and toy-toters, safely support kid-sized copies of War and Peace. An array of fort-building fodder is also available, such as Aden + Anais blankets ($18–$50), whose organic muslin base keeps tots warm while monograms help parents remember which fruit they chose to name their children after. Grown-ups delight in the Occasionally Made portable bar ($38–$40), adding a touch of charm to mall parking-lot tailgates.
Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.
PPG Porter Paints' team has dedicated 90 years to sprucing up homes with its revered brand of vivid, low-odor paints, stains, and primers. Multiple lines and sheens of interior paint offer to protect walls from presidential portraits painted in mustard ($25.79+/gal.). Eco-conscious shoppers can snag gallons of Pure Performance color, designed to thwart mold and mildew without angering Mother Nature's overprotective rottweiler ($33.39+/gal.). Peruse exterior paints if looking to prevent al fresco fortifications from cracking and peeling during super-soaker season ($25.79+/gal.). Effective on most surfaces, Porter's acrylic, synthetic, and alkyd Seal Grip primers also help house-wide paint jobs to stay put ($40+/gal.). Amicable staff members roam each locale's voluminous aisles and are eager to provide product recommendations for any home, office, or abandoned grain silo.