After spending years designing kitchens and handcrafting cabinets, John Barlowe opened Frame Shop Art Gallery & Gifts to celebrate and showcase great household art. A member of the Professional Picture Framers Association, he's won awards for his custom-frame designs, which pair his meticulous woodworking skills with elements such as football skin to accent displayed pieces. As a premier partner of Larson-Juhl, he has access to thousands of ornate American hardwood borders and gilded moldings crafted with more than 100 years of company expertise. Each artwork or photograph squeezes between Tru Vue glass and Bainbridge mats and backboard, a sandwich framers can often complete in as little as 24 hours.
In addition to displaying art, John and his team specialize in various photo services, from printing images to transforming ordinary snapshots into caricatures or watercolors with artistic photo treatments. They also prevent boxes of family photos from falling victim to age, disasters, and swamp monsters’ thumbprints by digitizing large collections.
Prism GlassWorks is a full-service silica studio offering a wide range of elegant pre-made glass pieces, as well as hands-on classes and workshops for students of all experience levels. As a sneak peak of their regular fused-glass pendant classes—and with Groupon fun-seekers specifically in mind—the Prism proprietors have put together a special fused pendant-making workshop (many convenient times are available). During the two-hour session, you'll get to carry your innermost designs and aesthetic impulses to fruition, whether they are abstract conglomerations of color or miniature images of a beloved filing cabinet. After hand-selecting and combining glass noodles, stringers, and dichroic thingamabobs, you'll have created a raw pendant that's ready for the finishing flames of the kiln.
Copper Moon Studio owner Stacy Wetzel guides budding artists in their pursuit of fused-glass masterpieces, leading jewelry classes (a $45 value) that end in each student's production of custom pieces to take home. Students can choose two pieces of jewelry to craft, mixing and matching necklaces, rings, or a set of earrings, and forming them for an understated, overstated, or post-apocalyptic look. Glass whisperers who enroll in the sun-catcher course (a $50 value) leave with a unique piece ready to safely capture the Icarus-toasting rays of that cheery orb. Those disinterested in hands-on glass manipulation can purchase $45 worth of jewelry created in the studio by Wetzel, with items such as stained-glass earrings ($30–$40), beaded necklaces ($20–$35), and fused-glass pendants ($20–$24).
Whether stocking the kitchens of Burger King, McDonald's, and Pizza Hut or the kitchen of a single family, The Kitchen Store ensures their customers get the professional tools they need. Each team member has spent an average of 25 years in the food industry, which translates into informed equipment recommendations and sure-fire advice. Their savvy pairs well with the comprehensive stock of kitchen tools, which runs the gamut from ranges by Southbend and cutlery from Dexter Russell to food thermometers that'll make sure pizza stones don't melt into lava.
The gardening experts at Black Diamond, Inc. have dispensed seedlings and seedpods, as well as wisdom on coaxing blossoms and branches from each, for more than half a century. Rather than just pairing visitors with plants to plop into the ground, they strive to understand individual gardening needs. They troubleshoot issues unique to each customer's landscape and impart advice about which plants play well with which fertilizers and insecticides, and which will end up calling each other names and refusing to share their LEGOs. The green-thumbed staffers grow a wealth of their own bedding plants and nursery stock, and they acquire the rest from local growers. This lets them assemble dozens of annuals and perennials, a wealth of pepper and tomato varieties, and a bevy of shrubs and ornamental trees that keep yards shady enough for pet ice cubes to play outside. Customers can also avail themselves of landscape design and maintenance services, which tap into the skills and experience of professionals.
At Samsen Furniture Outlet, staffers guide clients through the oversized storefront, where they encounter discounted designer furniture from brands such as Klaussner, Best, and Steve Silver. Their selection includes ottomans, wall accents, lamps, and sofas, yielding a furnishing collection as unabridged as a 500-page manual on making toast.