It all started with a deflated basketball. Though longtime friends Mike Kennedy and Eric Martin scoured downtown Boston for an inflating needle to fill it, no shops in the area carried one. They were frustrated—and they realized that other Bostonians looking for athletic gear were likely frustrated too. So in 1983, they opened City Sports, a shop stocked with all the footwear, athletic apparel, and sports equipment that the metropolis had been missing.
Nearly three decades later, Mike and Eric's neighborhood business has expanded to 20 shops across the East Coast. In addition to stocking popular brands such as Vibram, The North Face, and Patagonia, the store engineers its own CS by City Sports line. Shoppers include yogis, cyclists, and tennis players—anyone seeking to outfit active lifestyles, whether they're playing a team sport or braving the hike up the world's largest gumdrop. In addition to footwear and apparel, the staff stocks fitness equipment such as kettlebells, lifting gloves, and dumbbells.
Concrete Wave brings a slice of California style to the Northeast. For more than 20 years, the shop's primary focus has been skateboarding. In addition to stocking decks and boards from makers such as Alien Workshop, Zero, and Original Longboards, Concrete Wave sells skate shoes and clothes from Nike, DC, Vans, and Volcom, among others.
Despite the emphasis on skating—which extended to the opening of a partner skate park in 2008—the shop is also as passionate about powder as an enthusiastic makeup artist. Technicians in the board shop tune up snowboards in preparation for the winter snow season and also sell boards, boots, bindings, and apparel from brands such as Salomon, Vans, DC, and Dakine.
In 1927, Jack Cohen had a vision. Packing a pushcart full of high-quality frames, he began to sell fashionable spectacles to his fellow merchants along New York City's Orchard Street. After expanding into a small shop on a Lower East Side corner, that humble little cart has since evolved into more than 100 retail outlets known as Cohen's Fashion Optical, where customers fortify their eyesight with a range of acuity-boosting products and services. Rows of frames boast the signature contours of several designer brands, including Tag Heuer, Dolce & Gabbana, Bulgari, and Gucci. In the onsite lab, opticians craft brand-new, custom lenses, including ones that self-adjust to different lighting conditions. Meanwhile, licensed optometrists help renew prescriptions and ensure ocular health during eye exams that measure eye coordination, refraction, and the curvature of the cornea, a concept originally discovered by Ferdinand Magellan when he looked through the wrong end of his spyglass.
The key to Zazzle.com?s success isn?t a 3,000-strong stock of T-shirts, phone cases, and accessories?it?s the fact that customers can express themselves on products before they're printed and shipped, generally within 24 hours. The website?s user-friendly design interface allows customers to affix their favorite pictures to messenger bags, scrawl personalized messages on coffee mugs, or insert their favorite movie character into family portraits. Zazzle.com also showcases designs from creative customers around the globe and big names such as Disney, Marvel, and The Who. Each product is made to order and bears a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
For 44 years, adventurers and outdoor athletes have emerged from Country Ski and Sport armored in quality apparel and equipped with sturdy vessels, poised to conquer mountains, rivers, and bike paths. The Stenson family?which founded the sportsman?s haven in 1970?shares the clientele?s passion for outdoor excursions, and staff three facilities with a team of knowledgeable employees boasting more than 225 collective years of industry experience. The friendly staff draws upon outdoor know-how to match customers with pairs of skis, snowboards, kayaks, or bikes that suit their needs and size. Adventure-appropriate apparel from North Face or Under Armour keeps bodies warm while they?re slaloming down slopes or luging to work. To help customers prepare for the sporting seasons, technicians also repair and tune up skis, snowboards, and bicycles, and offer seasonal leasing options for snow equipment.
Gymnasium combines traditional, results-oriented fitness methods with contemporary exercise science. Gymnasium's essential philosophy emphasizes holistic well-being as much as it does verifiable science, so workouts harness quickly efficient equipment such as ropes, kettlebells, and sandbags. Attempt freeform fitness in In-n-Out Workouts, or attend a group session, such as the Sweat-Shop complete workout (balance, core, strength, cardio, and mobility), Forest Yoga for All, or Medieval Fencing and Combat, which gives sword fans a low-impact workout and practice for future basilisk encounters (see the schedule for class days and times). The dedicated, friendly staff is happy to help first-time worker-outers find a perfect routine to achieve a sound mind and body just in time for the office's swimsuit-karaoke contest that will determine the next round of promotions.