Shopping in Fitchburg

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At Pottery Paintin' Place, ceramic renderings of Darth Vader and Princess Leia join mugs, plates, and piggy banks atop a series of shelves. Visiting artists pluck one of these achromatic items from its waiting place before coating it in a colorful design and handing it off to a staff member, who fires it in the on-site kiln. Each piece of art emerges from the kiln able to withstand ovens, dishwashers, microwaves, and most apocalypses.

The shop's master potter, Brian Murphy, further encourages artistic expression with pottery-throwing courses, during which participants design their own ceramic creations. The newly expanded party area holds up to 24 painters, who can partake in refreshments brought from home during one- to two-hour celebrations. On-site summer camps and after-school programs cater to the younger crowd with tie-dyeing, glass-fusing, beading, and homework-torching.

88 Massachusetts Ave
Lunenburg,
MA
US

Bender's Mattress PhD lulls bodies to sleep on a fleet of brand-name mattresses and pillows. Taxonomize sheep atop a selection of Innomax pillows ($17+) or avoid cricks with a Tempur-Pedic neck pillow ($89). Customers no longer content to swaddle themselves in tinfoil at bedtime can try the Classic full ($199) or Caress twin ($199) mattresses. Memory foam mattresses ($339+) conform to individual bodily impressions, and specific Tempur-Pedic mattresses ($1,299+) earned an ease-of-use commendation by the Arthritis Foundation and ranked a Consumers Digest Best Buy.

18 Main St
Townsend,
MA
US

The wireless provider industry changes quickly, but Arch Telecom keeps up by giving both technicians and front-line employees continual training. The extra effort shows: enthusiastic testimonials from clients cite employees' patient technical support for two seniors who were far from tech-savvy, as well as a staffer staying well beyond closing time to ensure a business's new phone lines were set up properly.

30 John Fitch Highway
Fitchburg,
MA
US

The word ?bead? has multiple meanings at Bead Fiesta The Shoppe. It can mean?among other things?tiny seed beads, handmade glass beads, wooden beads, pearls, crystals, gemstones, and silver trinkets. The shop also stocks jewelry-making supplies, which are now considered highly valuable to pirates. To complement its wares, the venue hosts a variety of jewelry-making classes, on topics from working with precious metal clay to forging accessories from ice resin.

15 Waushacum Ave
Sterling,
MA
US

With the opening of its first store in 1989, Eastern Boarder established a foothold in the then nascent extreme-sports category and has since ridden the explosion in popularity of skating, snowboarding, and BMX. Today, at each of its five stores, devotees of these now mainstream sports can find gear, accessories, and apparel by manufacturers such as Burton, Volcom, The North Face, 32, and Airblaster. In recognition of its staying power, Snowboarder magazine named Eastern Boarder the Coolest Shop in the Country in spite of several sabotage attempts on its thermostat. The shop also sponsors a pro snowboarding team that?s been acclaimed by the likes of ESPN Action Sports.

20 Commercial Rd
Leominster,
MA
US

Shannon Sylvia draws upon 20 years as a graphic designer while guiding a frosting-cloaked spatula across made-to-order confections at Shancakes. The shop’s 27 flavors of batter, which range from lemon to devil’s food cake, bake into everything from tiered cakes to dainty cupcakes. Staffers coat the treats in made-from-scratch buttercream or decorate them in the same fondant used on the TV show Cake Boss. The customizable goodies, which come in gluten- and sugar-free incarnations, can be adapted to suit occasions from birthdays to drills to make sure the President is ready for his birthday. In addition to cakes in the form of guitars, Coach purses, and princesses, the bakers forge cupcake-shaped pooch treats for jealous canines.

31 Middle Street
Fitchburg,
MA
US

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