In 1975, photographers Kristen Cole and David Marr founded their eponymous workshops in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, with only a darkroom, some developing equipment, and a classroom that could barely hold five students and a small grizzly bear. After 20 years of educating New Englanders, the talented duo relocated its expanding school to Boise to impart the duo's commercial and artistic expertise to students in the Treasure Valley. Cole/Marr Photography Workshops now illuminates the art of image capture in Boise's renovated Cultural Center, which houses the school's three darkrooms, studio and framing areas, digital workstations, and a photo library. Open to new framers and advanced snappers alike, the workshops' curriculums span fundamentals of both traditional and digital photography, with seminars on topics such as the darkroom process, Photoshop editing, and portraiture. Pupil and instructor galleries inspire with beautiful shots, many taken during photo safaris led by Cole and Marr to destinations as diverse as the contents of a communal diary.
The brand-new Import Outlet furnishes homes with luxe leather furniture, eclectic works by local artists, large bronzed mirrors, and consignment memorabilia from rural Idaho. Import Outlet groups together corresponding accessories throughout the store and highlights them with professionally arranged floral displays ($5–$150) and mini ticker-tape parades. Chocolate walls set off local artist Keith Couch's photography and the store's popular large wooden signs by Americana Comfort, such as the cheeky "Girls Just Want to Have Wine" sign ($35.99). Myriad decorative knickknacks—including 3"x6" scented candles ($7.40), 20-inch wrought-iron candlesticks ($12), and hen-in-a-basket sculptures ($18.78)—sprawl out across the store's various tabletops and bookshelves. Ongoing in-store specials and an extensively stocked half-off display make browsing never boring, unlike reading editor’s letters in National Geographic back issues.
It was the early 1990s, and all across the nation groups of five ambitious youngsters were getting together to better mankind: the Power Rangers, Captain Planet's Planeteers, and the founders of Budget Blinds. Though the latter group began its humble operation out of an apartment, business ballooned and now it has more than 1,000 consultants across the continent. This team extends the window-savvy of the founders by performing free in-home consultations that give homeowners a concrete idea of what new window coverings would look like in their home. The shops' blinds, shutters, shades, and drapes can be custom-ordered for size, fabric, and style from among thousands of options by more than 25 vendors. As a testament to their window-beautifying prowess, Budget Blinds' consultants were hired to deck out a home on HGTV's Showhouse Showdown, which lures viewers searching for two houses to draw pistols at dawn.
What began in 1984 as a home business with a single phone has grown into a go-to source for women's apparel with retail stores across the country. Headquartered in Sandpoint, Idaho, Coldwater Creek curates a varied selection of elegant but comfortable clothing, ensuring closets stay stocked with more than just the relatives who only get pulled out around the holidays. You'll find everything from sweaters and jackets to jeans and dresses, as well as jewelry, handbags, and other extras for accessorizing new outfits. And if you can't make it to one of Coldwater Creek's physical locations, just head to the website to find the perfect cardigan, cashmere sweater, or pencil skirt.
Becky's Fabrics & Bernina simplifies the sewing process, teaching visitors how to craft clothes and accessories using Swiss-made Bernina sewing software and machines. The shop also supplies all the necessary fabrics, needles, and patterns to cook up a new dress or piece together a sentimental quilt made from your favorite old yogurt lids. Those looking to brush up their skills can turn to Becky's expansive schedule of classes, which includes everything from adding pleats and ruffles with a Bernina machine to stitching together a patchwork scarf.