When it comes to footwear restoration, the experts at Cobbler’s Bench Shoe Repair don’t just go through the motions. Instead, they put in the extra effort to return each pair to a like-new condition, a quality instilled by the company’s founders, Charles and Sara Stern, in 1946. All repairs are completed within three days and use equal or better materials than the original manufacturer, which helps protect shoes from environmental damage and teasing from snobby loafers. Cobbler’s Bench also maintains an offsite plant with special equipment to carry out particularly complicated repairs.
The fruit florists at Edible Arrangements inspect each piece of preservative-free produce for freshness before stamping it with a chocolaty seal of approval and finding it a cozy home in a customizable box. Mix and match scrumptious strawberries, granny smith wedges, piquant pineapple daisies, and other chocolate-varnished delights to design a box of 12 just right for thanking a business partner or showing your bedside mini fridge that you care. On a holiday or any day, an Edible Arrangement can turn a frown into an upright orange wedge, a tear into a three-tiered citrus structure, and a friend into still just a friend, but one with a sweet, balanced diet.
South Moon Under is an upscale retailer that offers an eclectic mix of clothing and home décor for fashion-savvy shoppers. Browse digital or physical shelves stocked with brands and designers including Marc by Marc Jacobs, French Connection, UGG, and more. Women's apparel includes stylish staples such as Michael Stars v-neck tees in a rainbow of season-flattering hues ($49.75), and menswear includes shirts such as the whimsical Topo Ranch tour bus tee ($39.50). Undercover princesses can peruse jewelry adornables such as a bow-bedecked Floral bracelet, sure to punch up colorless ensembles and add color to ensemble punch parties ($38). Present the ideal present with a prettily practical Vieta whip-stitch saddle bag ($49), or accessorize homes with touches such as an Illume monogram votive, ideal for a thoughtful personalized gift for anyone who still spells their name using the alphabet ($12).
More than 150 varieties of wine, beer, and spirits flow freely into souvenir glasses, slaking thirsty throats with unlimited sips as guests nibble artisanal snacks at the National Harbor Wine and Food Festival's tasting stations. More than 100 international wines and local libations activate palates, and guests venture to the tasting theater to take in a seminar from wine pairers and gourmet chefs. Live steel-drum music sets the beachy airwaves quivering as attendees relax in the whiskey-and-bourbon lounge and experts demonstrate how to hand roll cigars, a skill that impresses friends and stops rival spies from secretly filling the cigar with live wolverines.
Diva Boutique thrills savvy fashion hunters with gently used designer apparel, earning the store the title of Best Consignment Shop of 2009 from the Washingtonian. A dachshund mannequin stares benevolently from the 1880s townhome's front window, ushering shoppers inside for an obligatory ear scratch and exploration of the boutique's ever-changing selection. Rack upon well-organized rack of clothes by designers such as Tory Burch, Diane Von Furstenberg, Prada, and Chanel greet visitors alongside accessories and a line of new jewelry designed to compliment the sophisticated stock. Those hoping to consign their own gently used duds can schedule an appointment for staffers to examine the items' condition, determine their sell prices (generally 1/3 to 1/2 of the original price), and assess their intellect with a brief written exam.
When owner Cindy McCartney isn't pampering her beloved pet dachshund—after whom she named her boutique—she strives to make a difference in the world. Recognized for her social activism by Northern Virginia Magazine, Cindy believes in tapping into her inherent "visibility as a retailer to support community causes" such as the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women movement and the Susan G. Komen National Race for the Cure.
Before Comfort One Shoes' sole experts are allowed to fit a single shoe to a customer's foot, they must graduate from Comfort One University and undergo a mentorship process. It's only then that they can help shoppers find their desired footwear, whether it be lace-up Ziera boots, On running shoes with CloudTec technology, or Thierry Rabotin shoes, handmade without uncomfortable, rigid components. Alongside men's and women's footwear, the shop stocks an assortment of bags and accessories such as colorful iPhone cases from Triple C Designs that protect phone exteriors and conceal scratches from the last time you transformed into a werewolf.
Comfort One Shoes also seeks to better the world through creative philanthropic efforts, such as collecting 25,000 shoes for those without and offering their employees half their pay and time off to volunteer in the community. Perhaps such initiatives are part of the reason Comfort One Shoes earned the National Shoe Retailers Association’s Retailer of the Year Award in 2011.