At The 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.
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.
The Natural Discount Shop has just what the doctor ordered—and probably a lot of stuff he didn't order, too. The shop keeps its shelves stocked with wholesome, all-natural products, including healthy foods, vitamins, and supplements. It also employs a well-versed staff, who boast more than 30 years of experience working with natural and organic products.
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. Housed in the rustic 19th-century Cider Mill Building, 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.
For the cooks at Mezcal Tequila Cantina, guacamole means more than just avocados given a firm, loving hug. Half a dozen different varieties mix in inventive fixings such as toasted coconut and smoked almonds. That deft blending of traditional dishes with unconventional flavors extends past the appetizer round. Classic burritos and quesadillas arrive heaped with everything from asian beef to barbecue-duck confit. Even familiar ingredients are used in surprising ways, as with the chorizo and sweet corn stirred into risotto.
But food is only half the menu at Mezcal. The other half is dedicated to more than 100 tequilas, a selection that Worcester Magazine calls “by far the best list in Worcester, and undoubtedly in Central Massachusetts.” Aside from pouring smooth and smoky liquors, Mezcal’s bartenders mix margaritas from real fruit purees and house-made syrups.
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 Volcom, Neff, and Nike. 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.