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.
These days, it's hard to know what exactly you're eating when your eating beef—even if you cooked it yourself. The modern meat industry pumps their cattle full of antibiotics and hormones that make the meat seem more appealing while being worse for your health. Besides that, they don't feed the cows their natural diet of grass and clover, opting for cheaper corn and grain instead without even letting them use ketchup. Gaucho Ranch aims to change all that. Drawing on the old gaucho tradition of South America, they import their beef from a family farm in Uruguay, where it is guaranteed to be raised entirely naturally and fed exactly what it wants to eat. The result are beautiful cuts of beef that are lower in cholesterol and fat, higher in Omega 3s and Vitamin E, and delicious on top of everything else.
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.
One of the East Coast's best-known members-only wholesale retailers, BJ's Wholesale Club serves more than six million members in 201 clubs as far west as Ohio. Within these sprawling locations, savvy shoppers knock out most of their errands in a single stop. In the same visit, members can stock up on economy-sized groceries–including USDA choice meats, farm-fresh produce, and everyday essentials–grab name-brand electronics, get their vision checked at BJ's Optical, and even plan a vacation through BJ's Travel. Each service makes up a single part of the club's well-rounded retail experience, but simplifying shopping isn't BJ's Wholesale Club's only goal; in 2012 alone, the company donated more than $3.2 million to charitable organizations.