"Never, never, never give up," is the driving mantra for David Oreck, who flew combat missions with the US Army Air Forces in World War II and returned home to build a business empire from scratch. He set out to design a machine to lighten hotel employees' load, making a lightweight vacuum cleaner as opposed to the traditional bulky, burdensome commercial cleaners. Naturally, the domestic market began clamoring for his high-powered yet easy-to-handle devices, and soon Oreck vacuums could be found in homes throughout the country.
Today, the company continues its tradition of innovation, simplifying household tasks with Steam-Glide mops for hard floors, HEPA-filter upright vacuums, and stain-killing cleaning products. Oreck's commitment to clean sends it headlong into the future, with high-tech air filters that react to their environment with automatic sensory controls, filtering odors, allergens, and curse words.
Family-owned for five generations and 116 years, Smith Housewares and Restaurant Supply stocks residential and commercial kitchens with approximately 18,000 items, including a wide variety of food equipment. Patrons can paint egg-glaze masterpieces with a 1-inch boar-bristle pastry brush ($2.82) or don a chef’s hat ($8.99) to collect free sticky buns from passersby who mistake them for the Pillsbury Doughboy. Alternatively, customers can dunk dough in a 12-cup S/S deep fryer ($77.99) or dip delicacies in chocolate melted with a electric multi fondue set ($71.99) to craft homemade sweets. Hops and yeast from a True Brew Irish stout ingredient kit ($43.89) ferment into 5 gallons of full-bodied ale (equipment not included). Smith Housewares and Restaurant Supply also hosts a substantial array of industrial service equipment for restaurants or wistful home kitchens dreaming of the big time.
Since 1903, Davis Florist & Greenhouse’s family of flora artists have crafted delicately designed bouquets and arrangements from fresh and blossoming flowers. A bounty of orange roses, hot pink and red carnations, and matsumoto asters overflow from a clear glass vase in the How Sweet It Is bouquet ($34.95+); a dozen red roses peak from an elongated glass house ($54.95) to help couples celebrate anniversaries with more grace and romanticism than a Gone with the Wind audio book narrated by Leonard Nimoy. Birthday festivities commence with the Fly Away Birthday Bouquet, which teems with a symphonic septet in the rainbow’s favorite colors ($52.95+). Reams of classic chicness populate the Simply Elegant spathiphyllum, which placates a warmongering wicker pot with a white peace lily emerging from dark leafy greens ($42.95).
Since its founding by William Bright Sr. and William Dunk Sr. in 1927, Dunk & Bright Furniture has grown from a modest storefront to a 100,000-square-foot showroom. The store's staff—accredited by the Interior Design Society and American Society of Interior Designers—leads visitors through a maze of bedroom and living room sets, mattresses, and other pieces by brands such as Ashley, Harden, and aspenhome. A separate 1,000,000-cubic-foot warehouse stores the bulk of the shop's inventory, which also includes wall-to-wall carpeting, area rugs, shutters and blinds, and enchanted mirrors. Dunk & Bright delivers purchases free of charge within 200 miles of Syracuse.
In central New York, the artisans at Brennan Stained Glass Studio work with extreme heat and traditional techniques to craft elaborate stained-glass windows and art pieces. In addition to producing the stained-glass dome atop Alexandria Bay's Boldt Castle, the team has designed and installed windows for thousands of churches, temples, schools, hospitals, restaurants, and office buildings. The team also instructs students in the art of stained glass with its own unique approach. Lessons include basic instruction in the copper-foil method to create window panels and sun catchers. Students may also learn how to design their own custom fused-glass plates so they can stop arguing over dish ownership with their dogs.