Steve Appel and Lee Whitehead found themselves in a design dilemma regarding the messy home of a wealthy client. She wanted to sell her house, but no one would buy the building in its current state. Instead of passing on the case, the duo visited the home and constructed a battle plan during a 10-hour consultation. Within the week, they'd completely repainted and replaced most of her furniture, readying her for a Saturday open house, and by Sunday, she'd received multiple offers from potential buyers. By Monday, the house was sold. As graphic-design majors and interior-design enthusiasts, Steve and Lee have used their talents in many such situations, under short time limits and with exceptional challenges, to refurbish a range of spaces—even helping famed baker Duff Goldman of Food Network's Ace of Cakes choose furnishings for his lobby at Charm City Cakes.
At Nouveau Contemporary Goods, the duo fills their space with an ever-changing roster of upholstery, dining sets, bed sets, and colorful crystal-infused wallpaper. Modern furnishings such as egg chairs and aquamarine crushed-velvet benches share a mutual territory with traditional pieces such as a red cabinet with a marble top and the actual couple who posed for American Gothic. In addition to showpieces, samplings of glass panels, blinds, and other window treatments ooze inspiration for potential clients coming up with their own projects. Anyone on a tight deadline can also count on the design duo for same-day delivery, be it for full showroom sets or unique recycled artwork and furniture.
An authorized AT&T retailer, AT&T Portables sets itself apart from the crowd with customer-service-oriented staffers who guide shoppers through the process of picking phones and accessories from an extensive inventory. Each employee is well versed in the bells and whistles of the latest smartphones from Apple, Samsung, Blackberry, and Nokia, helping shoppers translate tech specs into real-world pros and cons. Customers’ chosen phones are accompanied by a range of protective and stylish accessories, as well as cellular plans that provide an appropriate amount of minutes, text messages, and bandwidth for sending and receiving urgent cat videos.
In 2001, Dr. Robert Samit had a vision, which was a pretty appropriate phenomenon, considering that he's an optometrist. He saw in the future a network of eye doctors, united under the banner of a single company that provides quality vision care—plus a huge selection of value-priced and designer eyewear frames.
Together with company president Sue Healey Downes, they have expanded to the Charlotte area, each with a licensed Doctor of Optometry on hand. They equip this army of eye examiners with the latest technology. When a doctor determines that a corrective lens is called for, he or she prescribes them and MyEyeDr.'s team of eyecare consultants helps patients choose from a huge array of frames from such brands as Gucci, Coach, Oakley, and Ray Ban RX.
At Jamachi Plastic Surgery & Medi-Spa, a diverse team of practitioners helps beautify clients from head to toenail. At the helm is plastic surgeon Dr. Emeka Onyewu, who has performed thousands of procedures—with a specialty in breast surgeries and liposuction—earning him a level of expertise that's been shared on news programs such as NBC 4. He's joined by Dr. Adaku Onukogu, a board-certified internist who administers flu shots and assists patients with managing their weight, overall health, and well-being.
Nail technicians, massage therapists, and aestheticians head up Jamachi's spa services, which are performed at mani-pedi stations or in treatment rooms. Aesthetician Trina McIntosh draws upon postgraduate training at the International Dermal Institute when revivifying faces with custom blends of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. April Parnell softens hands and feet with such specialty ingredients as champagne, olive oil, and happy unicorn tears during mani-pedis, and massage therapists Nmaku Onyewu and Joel Price lure stress out of bodies with customized techniques.
When it comes to footwear restoration, the experts at Cobbler’s Bench Shoe Repair don’t just go through the motions. Instead, they put in the extra effort to return each pair to a like-new condition, a quality instilled by the company’s founders, Charles and Sara Stern, in 1946. All repairs are completed within three days and use equal or better materials than the original manufacturer, which helps protect shoes from environmental damage and teasing from snobby loafers. Cobbler’s Bench also maintains an offsite plant with special equipment to carry out particularly complicated repairs.
A parade of fixtures from brands such as Kohler, Moen, and Grohe tempts kitchen and bath savants at The Somerville Showroom. An Aqueous single-hole bathroom faucet shoots a steady flow of water into waiting basins ($111.07), and a Kohler Cachet elongated toilet seat snaps off easily to be cleaned or used as an emergency Frisbee ($59.30). Alternately, a polished chrome Kohler Flipside showerhead caresses soul cases with four different flavors of spray—a traditional shower, a dense and drenching spa mist, a pulsating water massage, and a circular-patterned spray ($95.30). Homeowners can also bring along detailed plans of a bathroom or kitchen remodel, and knowledgeable staff members can advise which faucet finishes will complement countertops or pink-and-red Hello Kitty color schemes.