In 1956, a mining company sold some unproductive facilities to the County of Los Angeles, thinking it had taken everything worth taking from the land. The county wanted to reclaim the site as a natural habitat, but civic demands at the time dictated that it become a sanitary landfill. Then, in 1961, a group of private citizens headed by Frances Young convinced the Board of Supervisors to reclaim the site as a botanic garden. By April of that year, the one-time mine and former landfill bloomed with more than 40,000 donated trees, shrubs, and other plants, officially completing its rebirth as the South Coast Botanic Garden.
Today, the garden's 87 acres of land support more than 200,000 plants representing more than 2,500 different species, including 100 extremely rare mature plant specimens and globe-spanning plants from Australia and Africa. The robust growth sprawls across several theme gardens, including a dry-soil cactus garden, a traditional Japanese garden sculpted around centuries-old stone lanterns, and a Mediterranean garden inspired by the sultanates of antiquity. The diverse plant life provides shelter for an equally diverse population of birds and bugs, with 200 avian species spotted each year, matching the 200 yearly squeals from grown men who encounter a particularly large beetle.
With more than 25 years of experience, Box Brothers offers a panoply of packing supplies and accouterments along with brand-name and custom shipping services. Box Brothers stocks more than 100 different sizes of boxes, including standard 1.5-cubic-foot book- or record-carton boxes ($1.49 each, $1.29 each in a bundle of 25) and sweater-sheltering wardrobe boxes ($12.99, $11.99 each in a bundle of five). Box Brothers’ cardboard cowboys will help find the right receptacle for hand-woven wares, and they can also make or cut custom-size boxes for oddly shaped items such as spare harpoons and handcrafted kitchen sinks.
Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.
Named South Bay's Best Cooking Store by the Torrance Daily Breeze three years in a row, Cookin' Stuff furnishes cooks with more than 20,000 everyday and hard-to-find cooking and bake ware items. Meal makers will enjoy sifting through the 11,000-square foot store filled with stainless steel mixing bowls, cookware, strainers and a number of gadgets under $30. Top product brands like Cuisinart, KitchenAid, Nordic Ware and Curious Chef grace the shelves of Cookin' Stuff and gossip about a mutual friend's bland tasting casserole. Chefs searching for tools ranging in the obscure can find solace in a store equipped with items like professional marinade injectors ($6.95) and asparagus tongs ($4.95)
Sit 'n Sleep's friendly staff of sleep consultants take slumber seriously, spending months to learn the ins and outs of sleep health, mattress selection, and customer service. With their extensive expertise, these wink whisperers help snoozers find the perfect person-size pillow on which to repose or languidly mispronounce French poetry; choose from a panoply of twin, full, queen, king, and Cal king varietals. Guests can find restful vibes manifested in a bevy of mattress brands, from Sealy to Simmons, and types, from memory foam to latex.