The team behind the mom-and-pop Fabric Warehouse started their textile adventure in 1994 with 1,000 square feet of space. Since then, the store has moved to a 12,000-square-foot building packed with colorful indoor and outdoor fabrics, along with a variety of home decorations. Fabric Warehouse's two professional designers have the knowledge and expertise to help their clients customize bedding and drapery for master bedrooms or create an animal-print theme for a Neolithic-style man cave.
At more than 1,200 Mattress Firm locations around the country, shoppers sink into plush mattresses, recline on firm beds, and belly-flop onto pillow tops. Knowledgeable staffers can help customers create an ideal bedtime environment by dispensing advice based on sleep preferences and illuminating the difference between the many kinds of mattresses. And to the delight of their customers, much of Mattress Firm's bedding wears the label of a premium brand, such as Sealy, Serta, Simmons Beautyrest, or Stearns & Foster.
Carriages Ladies Store fills its racks with classic and elegant apparel from an array of brands including Badgley Mischka, Jane Hollinger, and Carmen Marc Valvo. Style-conscious employees lead sartorial safaris in search of flattering sportswear, recommending threads from Sanctuary ($88–$178) and Lilla P ($76–$188) to wear to casual outings and upscale barn raisings. Cocktail dresses from Nicole Miller demurely display gams ($275–$695), and stylish shifts from Laundry outfit wearers for fashion-forward events. A collection of formal knee-brushing numbers ($350 on average) or floor-skimming gowns ($550 on average) help wearers exude an aura of class and hide fourth knees in ballrooms.
Immaculately maintained by game gurus, Little Wars is a Louisianan outpost for classic board games, miniature war games, and popular RPGs that provide a thorough escape from workaday banalities such as the donut-eating contest upon which your next promotion rests. Newly initiated dungeon masters can grab the Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition red-box starter-set ($19.99), and old Magic hands can use the Magic the Gathering booster packs ($3.67 each) to spice up their games. Assorted plastic dice come in singles or sets ($0.75–$20), ideal for determining who must wash the dishes or prank call the congressman this time. Tournament chess sets ($30) offer timeless entertainment for those tired of playing futuristic games of Monopoly against sentient robots.
Baton Rouge Bead Company connects customers with the materials and guidance necessary to discover their inner artisans during small, intimate beading classes. Taught exclusively on Saturday mornings by well-schooled bauble buffs, the Stringing Basics classes include all the materials necessary to construct an original necklace, bracelet, and pair of earrings to take home. Reservations fill each session with a maximum of 10 aspiring adornment makers who gather around a single table for lessons in color theory, clasping, and choosing non-offensive stones. Students may draw from the shop’s bank of designs and combinations or string freely to create jewelry that represents a lifelong struggle to overcome patterns.
In 1965, Popular Mechanics ran a small classified ad for Brookstone, a new catalog company that packed its pages with functional products and detail-oriented descriptions. Brookstone quickly expanded to meet the high demand for its collection of “hard-to-find tools,” and opened the door to its first retail location in 1973. Today, Brookstone’s more than 300 nationwide retail locations allow customers to test-drive its ever-growing lineup of interesting products, which range from Bluetooth-enabled massage chairs to power adapters designed for international travelers and their electronic passports. Staying true to its roots as a catalog company, Brookstone houses an even larger selection of products, each waiting patiently to be shipped, on its website.