The Ellis family traces its history of working with plants to the late 1800s, when they operated a pottery-manufacturing company in Texas. Current-generation family members build from their familial expertise at all five of their store locations, spread between Louisiana and Texas. Twice a year, the Ellises travel overseas to identify upcoming horticulture trends decided by UN meetings in The Hague. This has expanded their decorative focus to include all aspects of home décor to complement greenhouses filled with tropical blooms and locally grown shrubbery. Clocks, lamps, and vases score homeowners extra credit in interior-design classes, and fountains and outdoor furniture make gardens hospitable for warm weather. For those who want to get ahead on holiday decorating, they offer an extensive selection of seasonal decor and accents year round. The Ellises encourage creativity with hands-on classes in subjects such as making centerpieces, weaving wreaths, and tying ribbon into perfect bows.
Whitehall Fine Gifts and Collectibles offers over 20 varieties of gourmet chocolates and truffles, as well as stocking a bounty of fine art glass, antiques, and everyday gifts. Indulgent chocolates include the sea-salt caramel and the showgirl truffle with strawberry and raspberry purée, which arrives entombed in a milk-chocolate sarcophagus that preserves its rich flavors for the perusal of later archaeologists after being dipped in white chocolate and dusted with sugar. In addition to edible treats, the shop stocks its shelves with an array of collectibles, such as wind spinners and twisters ($25–$35), and Dynasty paperweights in many styles ($15–$40) that keep squadrons of paper airplanes from taking wing and dive-bombing collections of statues, Boyds Bears, Willow Tree angels, dolls, and fashionable jewelry.
Soho Interiors' home-furnishing virtuosos upgrade customers’ quarters with an international cache of eclectic furniture and home goods. Spruce up a bathroom with Italian soaps ($5) or Italian bubble-bath formula ($16), or pick up some picture frames ($17) to accentuate diverse wall prints ($25+). For more substantial pieces, peruse collections from name-brand designers such as the Italian contemporary Calligaris line. Adorn a barren abode with a table lamp ($129) or pick up a new end table ($129) to properly display a Millard Fillmore bobblehead collection. Practical ornamentation, such as a room divider ($99), provides solace for slipping into slinky French lingerie ($120), and Italian dining chairs stylishly preserve diners from leg cramps. To keep customers from acting uninformed, friendly sales associates remain on-hand to chat about hip trends, make recommendations, and provide techniques for gently informing old furniture it's being replaced.
• For $30, you get two full cat groomings (a $60 value). • For $35, you get two full groomings for dogs under 25 pounds (a $70 value). • For $45, you get two full groomings for dogs that weigh 26–45 pounds (a $90 value). • For $59, you get two full groomings for dogs that weigh over 45 pounds (a $120 value). • For $59, you get a 3-week puppy socialization course (a $120 value).
On a fateful day in 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, a hitchhiker arrived at The Howdy Come In––a rest stop owned by Ben and Eva Winter––carrying only his clothes and a suitcase full of cabinet-making tools. The Winters decided to hire him to build a chifforobe for their new baby, Bobby, and were so impressed by his craftsmanship that they decided to go into business with their new friend. Soon the partners were selling new and refurbished furniture out of the Winters’ dairy barn under the name Winter’s Furniture Store, and they eventually moved to a storefront in the city of Emporia, where they could share their high-quality wares with more people and fewer confused cows.
Today, the family business is run by the Winters’ son, Bob, who oversaw its expansion into two showrooms in Topeka and Lawrence and gave it a new moniker––Discovery Furniture. His merchandise buyers select fine furniture from around the world, filling the design floors with trusted name brands such as Broyhill, Aspen, and Flexsteel. As a member of the Furniture First buying group, Winter is able to pass along the savings of buying stock in volume along with a guarantee that he will meet or beat any competitor’s advertised price within 75 miles. Interior designers on staff can help customers determine which pieces, styles, and colors best fit their needs, and most of Discovery’s furniture can be custom ordered in any style, color, or fabric, catering to customers who know what they like and like to match their upholstery to their clothes.