Rather than hypothesizing about what would happen if walls could talk, the masterminds behind Lacy Bella Designs invented an alternative way for walls to express themselves: vinyl decals. Their catalog of easy-to-apply designs, in a rainbow of colors, includes a variety of humorous and inspirational phrases, though customers can also create customized designs featuring a favorite saying, song lyric, or friend’s Social Security number. Chalkboard decals include larger boards for making lists on the fridge as well as smaller labels for jars and containers. Attached with a removable adhesive, the designs are ideal for indoor application in household areas such as bedrooms, kitchens, and entryways. Customers unsure of how a design will mesh with their decor can email Lacy Bella Designs a photo of the room they want to decorate and their favorite design; the staff will edit the design into the photo, free of charge.
Ray Lamar hasn't spent decades perfecting his donuts. In fact, his namesake shops still use the same recipes that Ray developed in 1933—at the age of 17—when he got his first job working a donut fryer. World War II and a postwar career as a stockbroker interrupted Ray's donut-making pursuits, although he returned to his roots in 1960 when he founded the first LaMar's Donuts.
The shop went on to become a Kansas City icon, with crowds arriving well before 6 a.m. to line up outside the doors and taunt the roosters for sleeping in. Ray and his wife, Shannon, eventually decided to expand their business into a regional empire, and LaMar's Donuts currently boasts 27 franchised stores spread across six states.
Even with all of this growth, decades-old traditions still dictate how things are done. The workers prepare more than 75 different kinds of donuts, hand-making fresh batches of perennial favorites as well as recent inventions each and every morning. In addition to the original glazed creation that dates back to 1933, the menus can feature a variety of cake donuts with flavors such as red velvet, apple spice, and maple.
Since donuts and coffee go together as naturally as paper shredders and subpar report cards, the stores also prepare cappuccinos, mochas, and other coffee drinks. These are all made with handpicked beans that slowly roast inside Italian brick ovens.
For more than 60 years, Zeke's Paint & Design Centers have been outfitting do-it-yourselfers with the paints and tools they need to give their homes chromatic makeovers. Zeke's preferred brand of paint, Benjamin Moore, can be mixed to perfectly match the preexisting colors on walls or breathe new life into boring pieces of Renaissance artwork. The store's commitment to professional-grade products doesn't stop at paint; finely bristled brushes, rollers, and supplies from brands such as Purdy and Corona ensure even coats and minimize the need for later touchups. Resident experts share helpful tips for do-it-yourself projects and can even point visitors in the direction of trusted professionals for more complex jobs, such as re-creating The Creation of Adam on the ceiling of a dog's house.
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.
The handymen at Handyman Matters have hammered, caulked, and crafted a sturdy reputation for honest, professional work, offering more than 1,162 types of home-repair and remodeling services. Every nook and cranny of the home, including mini-nooks and micro-crannies, can be varnished, tarnished, demolished, and renewed by this handy crew of professionals. Procrastinating amateurs can roll up their dog-eared to-do lists of household repairs and hurl them into the can-do arms of one of Handyman Matters’ accomplished craftspeople, who can tackle problems from dinged dry wall to flawed flooring. If the cat is getting concussions because his little crawl door is sticking, they'll fix it. They can even build a human-sized crawl door so cats and people can enter and exit the same way.
Mother-daughter team Juli and Breanna, who just graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in metal smithing, share their love of artistic expression at Bee Creative Studio, where they invite guests to join them in painting pottery and fusing glass. Visitors browse the ranks of piggy banks, plates, and figurines of frogs and dragons before picking up paintbrushes or the end of their braids to dip in paint. Finished pieces stay at Bee Creative while the experts glaze and fire them, and their creators can pick them up in five to seven days.
Those who want to wear their art can paint designs that Bee Creative transfers onto T-shirts, baby’s onesies, or aprons for keeping clothes clean while cooking or performing mad, mad science. Or, guests can delve into the world of fused glass, layering colors for jewelry, plates, and sun catchers that the studio experts fire and ready for pickup in a week. In addition to its open studio hours, Bee Creative hosts parties for birthday celebrants and brides-to-be.