One might not expect an immigrant with no formal education to name his family business after Yale University. But that's just what Steve Sheinkopf's grandfather did in 1923, and the pluckiness of the name was a harbinger of the company's ability to thrive against all odds. Over the course of almost 90 years, Yale Appliance & Lighting weathered the Great Depression and other economic crises, yet Sheinkopf's grandfather kept the business going and even made enough to help his four brothers emigrate to America. In 1984, when the landlord sold the Portland Street building that had housed Yale for 30 years, Sheinkopf helped his father measure a space on Freeport Street on the coldest day of that year. They've been there ever since.
What keeps the company going is a refusal to rest on its laurels and an almost obsessive commitment to customer satisfaction. On any given weekday, you'll find Sheinkopf blogging exhaustive side-by-side comparisons of a variety of his merchandise. The now 25,000-square-foot store houses more than 3,500 lights and thousands of appliances and plumbing products, and its delivery and service departments have grown to include 112 experienced employees and a fleet of 25 heavy-duty vehicles and industrial-size Tonka trucks.
The family legacy continues to flourish. Yale Appliance & Lighting’s kitchen appliances have made the megastore a multiyear winner of Boston magazine’s Best of Boston awards. As reported in the Boston Business Journal, Yale earned a Green Award from Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the city of Boston in 2007 for promoting energy-efficient appliances with education and in-store rebates. That same year, the Journal named Yale Appliance & Lighting one of the best places to work in Boston, which may be partly due to the frequent in-store cooking demos performed by regional chefs.
For Annissa Essaibi George, sewing has not just been a lifelong passion, but also a means of getting what she wants. At age 6, her mother taught her to sew so that she could make her Barbie a new outfit. In college, she and her roommate stitched together scrunchies, selling them to fund take-out and nights out. She even designed her own wedding dress. Today, sewing is the fuel behind her business, through which she furnishes sewers and knitters with the supplies to craft their projects and the skills they need to clothe every statue in the park. Annissa's pink-walled shop houses patterns, fabrics, knitting kits, and cubbies overflowing with polychromatic spools of yarn. Classes run on a five-day schedule and cover such stitching styles as knitting, crocheting, and pattern sewing for crafters of all levels.
With more than 70 years of color combination experience, Economy Paint Supply distributes liquid chromatics and provides custom stain matching, in-home consultations, and equipment rentals. The paint shop furnishes a host of habitat enhancements including Benjamin Moore paints ($27.99+ per gallon), wallpaper ($16.99+ per roll), single-roll carpets ($12.99+ per square yard), and window treatments ($200+ per window). Flinging a can of reddish royal flush or lagoon-like Lucerne at a living room’s backdrop can give walls a sense of newfound pride and astonish nearby floors and ceilings. Customers can also peruse a free in-store copy of Envision Color 2011, which highlights the palettes—soulful, spirited, dreamy, and phantasmagoric—comprising Benjamin Moore’s annual paint trends.
Painter's Supply stocks vibrant interior and exterior paints from top-industry brands alongside the tools needed to apply the new hues. Renters, homeowners, or tree-house speakeasy kingpins can complement paint schemes with implements such as tray liners ($5.13), microfiber roller covers ($3.99), paintbrushes ($20.49 for 2.5" brush), paint pails ($12.53), and paint-pail liners ($5.99). Feel free to solicit professional opinions or appraisals on a dumpster mural from each storefront's design center, which is helmed by proficient painters.
Experienced framers Barry Stahl and Bob Clayton built Big Picture Framing from scratch in 2000, holding meetings around an old card table as construction roared around them. Today, framers at 15 area locations craft custom frames to display artwork, photographs, and record sleeves, and shadow boxes protect three-dimensional items such as ballet slippers, macaroni art, or a swarm of wasps. Patrons can dictate all design choices, choosing from metal and wooden frames in a multitude of colors and styles, or ask for recommendations from one of Big Picture Framing's resident experts. Big Picture Framing also stocks pre-framed art, prints, and posters to spruce up bare-walled homes or a drab doghouse.
It began with an experiment in a basement. While that sounds like the start of a ghost story, it is actually how Harbor Candle Company was conceived. Tired of damaging their home with soot from store-bought scented candles, the company?s founders retired to their basement to pour their own. Over the course of a year, they developed their signature product, a candle made from clean-burning, non-toxic soy wax.
Word spread, and soon the basement enterprise morphed into a shop stocked with scented candles, still poured by hand. The aromas of apples, maple, and bamboo fill the shop, and the soy formula burns longer than paraffin and much longer than lists of secret names for your teddy bear. Made from NatureWax by Elevance and ensconced in domestically manufactured glass containers, each candle is entirely made in the USA.