Atlantic Bedding and Furniture showrooms speckle the Southeast, each one a treasure-trove of fine furniture and top-brand mattresses. Attentive staffers bustle past collections of leather couches and arrangements of dark-wood dining sets, eager to assist customers in their quest to find a memory-foam mattress that best suits their sleeping habits or a rug that best covers up the dungeon trapdoor in their living room. If an item is out of stock, the attendants can have it shipped directly from the company's central warehouse—a cavernous storeroom packed with furniture from top vendors like Coaster, Sealy, and Lifestyle Solutions. Much of the furniture is available online, enabling customers to shop from the comfort of home.
At each Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More location across the United States, professional graphic artists print high-quality, custom designs onto a variety of products including men's and women's T-shirts and sweatshirts, toddlers' onesies, and clothing for canines. Rather than ironing or screenprinting its tees, the team uses a process called direct-to-garment printing, dying images directly into fabric to ensure that the garments won't crack, fade, peel, or develop a sense of self. The staff also eschews harsh chemicals in favor of environmentally friendly ones, such as water-based ink.
The artists price their products at a consistent rate, don't charge setup fees, and won't increase their costs, even if the desired artwork is highly complex, demands hourly compliments, or requires multiple colors. They'll happily print either a customer-created design or one of their own onto one or 300 T-shirts at once, and they turn around most in-stock items in 24 hours.
By amassing a collection of furniture pieces from manufacturing companies such as Whitewood Industries, Archbold Furniture, and Whittier Wood, Barewood Outlet helps its clients find long-lasting, all-wood furniture that will be a staple of their families' abodes for generations. Barewood splits its inventory between finished-wood pieces, which stand at the ready to brighten rooms, and unfinished pieces, which customers can then have hand-finished to their specifications or take home as a do-it-yourself project. The outlet stocks all the tools, stains, and instructions necessary for these projects in order to help clients feel the rush of creating something themselves without experiencing the same old hassle of housing and feeding a Frankenstein monster.
Built in 1918, the Craftsman House's expansive, adobe-toned bungalow collapses time as visitors step onto a breezy veranda, walk past a lush carpet of flowers and fronds, and witness more American craftwork than they can shake an intricately whittled stick at. Blown glass, turned wood, and fine pottery and jewelry provided by a 300-strong network of local and national artists are just a few of the pieces that settle in at this homey abode. The building is so homey, in fact, that one artist hardly ever leaves. Surrounded by the courtyard, what was once an old-time carriage house is now the clay-caked studio of professional potter Stephanie Schorr. There, visitors can find her partway through many projects at once, crafting functional wares and feeding the carnival fire breathers that keep her kiln hot.
The historic hub of creative know-how hosts a multiplicity of events, including live music, gallery tours, and artistic workshops. In honor of the gallery's tireless community efforts, Craftsman House was named the 2011 Top Retailer for a Charitable or Philanthropic Event by Niche magazine.
Owner Maria Cruz attributes the success of her business to her dependable team, about whom she says, "I would trust them with a set of keys to my own house . . . I trust them wholeheartedly."
It would be hard not to, as the foreman of her carpet-cleaning crew, Joe, brings 10 years of experience to his work, and her housecleaning field supervisor, Patricia, brings more than 20 years. "I just could not do this without them," she emphasizes, citing Joe's talent for extracting red candle wax from a light-blue berber carpet, and Patricia's dedication to the checklist Maria created to ensure consistency in cleaning sessions.
Both cleaning teams are licensed, bonded, and insured, as well as thoroughly background checked to ensure that no one has a second job as a mud wrestler. The carpet cleaners purge dirt and debris from carpets with a steam-extraction system and stay well-versed in chemical concoctions to remove extra-tough stains. The housecleaners arrive at homes armed with commercial-grade supplies that will sanitize every surface they touch, plus eco-friendly products if the client desires. The cleaning checklist can be customized to satisfy individual requests.
The Dry Cleaning Factory spic-and-spans cruddy duds via eco-friendly dry cleaning and laundry services, with free pickup and delivery in three-days time. Attire experts can gently tend to a variety of clothing, purging stains and odors from blouses ($3.99+), pants ($4.75+), and two-piece suits ($9.99+) with a cleansing drier than a pot of petrified raisins. Alternatively, customers can gussy up shirts ($2.25+), skirts ($3.99+), and jackets ($4.99+) sullied by burst pens and tossed cocktails. Customers can surrender soiled tablecloths to The Dry Cleaning Factory’s crack cleansers, who can also de-grime area rugs or suction tears of joy from wedding gowns before sealing them in a keepsake pendant.