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.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Open seven days a week, the Springfield JCC Health and Fitness Center revs up bodies with a plethora of popular classes on land and in its Olympic-sized pool. Upgrade your physique with a BodyPump class, which teaches the original barbell-based full-body weightlifting regimen created by the Olympian Les Mills. Or sway your way toward lean muscle tone with a Zumba class, which fuses Latin and international rhythms to create a fat-exhausting South American fitness-and-dance party. The aquatically inclined may perform water aerobics in the pool to receive the cardiovascular benefits of aerobic exercise without stressing tender joints. Opt for enrollment in the masters swim program, and gain access to classes for beginners, advanced swimmers, aspiring triathletes, and those who are tired of swimming in seas of ambiguity.
The staff at Zoots Dry Cleaning extracts stains and stress by pairing eco-friendly dry-cleaning services with the convenience of extended evening and Sunday hours, 24-hour drop-off and pickup services (available at most locations), and an automated drive-thru system. Team members clean clothes, draperies, bedding, and rugs with a biodegradable solvent as opposed to harsh PERC chemicals, and some staff are trained to expertly excise stains from the delicate lace and beadwork of bridal-gown bodices. Most stores also have a tailor on location who is able to alter ensembles in a snap. Customers get e-mail notifications when orders are ready or they can download a smartphone app to keep a close eye on the status of their dirty laundry.