It's a big leap from the bustle of an athletic field to the solitude of a darkroom, but Calumet Photographic made the transition seamlessly more than 70 years ago. From its origins as a Chicago sporting-goods store, the company evolved into a one-stop shop for cameras and darkroom equipment and eventually into an innovator of photographic technology. In the 1960s, Calumet's most brilliant minds were behind the development of the Caltar large-format-lens line and nitrogen burst film.
Today, Calumet Photographic continues to manufacture and sell professional photographic products and software across the globe, boasting more than 25 retail stores throughout the US and Europe. Their shops abound with both new and used high-quality cameras and equipment, rental gear, and knowledgeable technicians eager to help customers find the right equipment for the job. The company’s extensive online catalog enables shoppers to purchase equipment from around the world and have it shipped directly to their home, studio, or mall photo booth they’ve claimed as a studio.
It’s easier to connect The Spa Room’s seeming hodgepodge of treatments if you look at owner Mary Szegda. Her background and training includes a master of arts degree in applied psychology, a certification for infant massage instructorship, a massage-therapy license, and training in the Feldenkrais method—a therapy designed to pinpoint and correct habits that can cause shoulder pain and muscle tension.
Together, Mary and her skilled staff, administer Swedish and prenatal massage, aromatherapy treatments, craniosacral therapy, and spa services such as a hand treatment that combines pomegranate cream and paraffin. The staff holds four advanced degrees among themselves, and several of them have experience teaching at the university level. Most of them have served as lead or assistant teachers at local massage schools. In addition, The Spa Room offers a variety of classes and workshops including massage education, infant-massage instruction, and restorative yoga.
Nestled between bay windows with verdigris awnings, Just Paper & Tea’s bright-red door serves as a cheery invitation to enter the store. Behind the cardinal-hued portal, happy sighs cut through the rustle of paper as patrons riffle through the shop’s hand-picked assortment of stationery accented with custom designs and elegant lettering. Perched at their workstations, calligraphers artfully emblazon blank cards with birth announcements or legally binding grocery lists, and staffers help brides- and grooms-to-be draft up dream wedding invitations. Along with lavish paper wares, Just Paper & Tea’s shelves also brim with a vast selection of teas that call to mind distant landscapes with smoky darjeeling and herbaceous green matcha.
The front doors of Skin Spa Austin Lounge open to a studio with an industrial yet comforting aesthetic, where sunlight spills in through the broad windows and warms the exposed-brick walls and bronze-colored floor. Within this space that both celebrates and seals out the savage urban jungle, aestheticians and massage therapists tend to guests with à la carte and packaged spa services that span facials, massage, waxing, and even LED teeth whitening. Skin Spa's staff prefers organic and pharmaceutical-grade products, stocking lines such as HydroPeptide that teem with active enzymes and botanical extracts.
One of Maryland's top mattress retailers, Casa Furniture, Inc. has spent a decade perfecting a business model that allows for a well-stocked inventory of high-quality furniture at low prices. The masterminds behind the furniture emporium scour the world for well-crafted furnishings for the living, dining, and bedrooms, and arrange to directly import the best pieces they discover on the back of their highly trained, ginormous eagle. Additionally, two factories produce furniture exclusively for the store, driving costs down further. Once customers select their new piece, Casa schedules a prompt delivery time to which its professional staff takes pride in adhering.
When Max Schneider and his son Abe Genderson founded Schneider’s of Capitol Hill in 1949, they had no idea that their store would be around for as long as some of their vintages had aged. Now, after more than 60 years, the family teams up with eight wine consultants to introduce their customers to at least 12,000 varieties of wine and spirits. In addition to vintages accessible to casual consumers, Schneider’s showcases an “old and rare” list of sips, as well as specialty bottles including wines from 1900.