Since 1964, Guitar Center has paired musicians with guitars, keyboards, drums, Pro Audio gear, and necessary accessories, including DJ and recording equipment to capture newly made melodies. An iPad music-stand adaptor ($39.99) connects an iPad to a music stand, allowing musicians to access online programs and music apps on-stage, or to publicly dedicate a song to their online Scrabble partner. A clip-on tuner ($29.99) keeps notes pitch-perfect, and Guitar Center’s array of sheet music produces a wider variety of sounds than singing from a thesaurus, with options that include the C-surfing The Real Blues Book ($31.49). Stitch tighter harmonies by threading notes onto Slinky guitar strings ($3.79), or use the value of today's Groupon toward a larger purchase, such as the Epiphone Les Paul Special II guitar ($169–$179.99). Guitar Center rounds out its collection of gear with Pro Audio and DJ equipment, keyboards, and drums, allowing every band member or solo cymbal player to stock up on their chosen form of expression.
Southerland Station has always nurtured budding creativity. Founded in 1958 as a blueprint- and drafting-supply store, the shop has since grown in size and scope, gearing its inventory of imagination fuel—which now numbers 40,000 different items—toward a younger audience. Oil paints and canvases offer outlets for artistic talents, which can also be honed in one of the shop’s art classes. Lego sets and model trains appeal to both the imaginative and the literal-minded, replicating reality through brightly colored bricks or 1:220 scale trains that are accurate down to their Union Pacific livery. And, though it now represents a smaller portion of the business, the drafting-supplies section is still there, giving mechanically inclined kids materials for blueprinting their next treehouse or battery of anti-cooties missiles.
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.
Operating next door to Ron Hogan's studio, Huntsville Stained Glass Class teaches students the uncommon art of dyeing sunlight. Beginners learn to work with copper foil and solder, resulting in kaleidoscopic suncatchers that are perfect for hanging up at home. Open sessions give more experienced artists a place to explore their creativity.
Ron Hogan Stained Glass Design Center preserves Old-World artistry and educates students on contemporary processes in classes devoted to the craft of building custom stained-glass pieces. During each three-hour sun-catcher class, the studio's dedicated professionals unveil tips for selecting, cutting, and soldering glass. Students wield the provided tools to assemble colorful pieces of glass into light-capturing traps capable of plunging the Earth into darkness.
The tour guides at H&L Enterprises of WNY LLC love showing people around town. But instead of introducing them to sights from a bus, boat, or Segway, they give tour-goers a spectacular bird's-eye view of western New York, the Southern Tier, northwestern Pennsylvania, and eastern Ohio through the windows of a four-seat Robinson R44 helicopter.
In addition to soaring over sparkling lakes and rolling meadows to wow visitors and help them capture stunning aerial-photography shots, helicopter flights also serve the more pragmatic purpose of patrolling pipelines or surveying the land. This allows farmers to count their livestock and entrepreneurs to scope out land they plan to purchase.