Atlantic Bedding and Furniture showrooms speckle the Southeast, each one a treasure-trove of fine furniture and top-brand mattresses. Attentive staffers bustle past collections of leather couches and arrangements of dark-wood dining sets, eager to assist customers in their quest to find a memory-foam mattress that best suits their sleeping habits or a rug that best covers up the dungeon trapdoor in their living room. If an item is out of stock, the attendants can have it shipped directly from the company's central warehouse—a cavernous storeroom packed with furniture from top vendors like Coaster, Sealy, and Lifestyle Solutions. Much of the furniture is available online, enabling customers to shop from the comfort of home.
Linda Minor, a member of the North Carolina Society of Goldsmiths and a former fashion buyer for J.C. Penney and Belk department stores, sells handmade creations within Bead Me’s spacious shop. Her first designed jewelry, which has been recognized as American-made by Martha Stewart, was chosen to be given to First Lady Michelle Obama on behalf of the city of Charlotte, NC. She draws from her style expertise to create necklaces, earrings, and bracelets with pearls, coral, turquoise, Swarovski crystals, and semiprecious gemstones. Many of her pieces incorporate copper, an antimicrobial metal that resists fading. During fun, BYOB jewelry-making classes, Linda imparts her beading know-how to students of all skill levels, giving them hands-on practice with metal-manipulation techniques such as fold forming and reverse psychology.
Sisters and native Charlotteans Neha Negandhi and Monika Shah didn’t let respective stints in Seattle and Alaska keep them away from their hometown arts scene. Inspired by similar BYOB painting sessions seen during their travels, they harnessed their diverse experiences with event management and Alaskan train tours to open their own studio, where they encourage students of all artistic levels to tap into their inimitable creativity just as they did. Joined by an impressive cast of local artists, the sisters unfurl a calendar stocked with a barrage of painting options, allowing students to portray a sailboat with an impressionistic mast or a seahorse wearing a gilded saddle.
Justin Kates, portraitist and staff photographer for Stiff Magazine, captures fashion shots and glamour images with a honed aesthetic that edges toward the dark and gritty. Before each shoot, his makeup artist highlights features with a professional hand, either lightly accenting faces or artfully transforming them with heavy shadow. Throughout photography sessions, Justin creates provocative images that simultaneously highlight beauty while deconstructing it to reveal the depths beneath. After shoots, he helps clients select images that he professionally retouches. With a masterful hand he beefs up colors and blends out imperfections.
America’s Mattress of the Carolinas' show rooms brim with plush, pillow-top, and memory-foam mattresses that vary in firmness and coil structure to help any sleeper find a match. The staff invites clients to try out a nap or enchanted slumber upon one of the store's own brand of budget-friendly mattresses. The selection also includes Tempur-Pedic models and Serta models, such as the iComfort with gel-infused memory foam.
To accessorize their purchases, clients can peruse a selection of bedroom furnishings, memory-foam pillows, and mattress protectors that seal in a mattress's naturally smoky flavor. Clients can enlist the store's staff to help haul away old bedding and set up new purchases.
For more than 60 years, Fireside Hearth & Home’s staff has been a treasure-trove of information on their ample stock of fireplaces, stoves, and inserts. Not a single model on the store’s showroom stands alone. Each unit is integrated into a different scene on the floor to give shoppers an idea of what the fireplace might look like in their living rooms, kitchens, supervillain lairs, and outdoor patios. Fireside’s trained staff can also help install new stoves or fireplaces in homes, from Heat & Glo to Heatilator to Quadra-Fire products.