Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.
At Nuts and Bolts Hardware, the official STIHL outdoor power-equipment dealer, a friendly staff of handyfolk and hardware experts help clients patch-up pipes, cut glass, or select power tools for an upcoming DIY project. For jobs that need an expert's eye, the shop keeps a handful of technicians who repair small engines, sharpen kitchen knives, and cut keys as guests enjoy complimentary popcorn and coffee.
At Paint with Flair, instructors kick down the barriers that traditionally stand between beginners and a paintbrush, starting by creating a comfortable environment. Couples on dates, coworkers looking to bond, or friends out on the town sip on BYOB drinks and snacks as they loosen up and get acquainted with the provided materials (classes for kids and non-drinkers are also available on the schedule). Teachers get groups chatting as they take them on a step-by-step walk through the brushstrokes, color selection, and witchcraft necessary to whip up their own fetching painting, whether it be a reproduction of Van Gogh’s Starry Night or an original design.