Most students in introductory stained-glass-making classes are in search of a new hobby or a fun few hours, but not Connie Beckers. In 1995, she took such a course and soon built a career around the art of stained glass and kiln-working. Now, through The Goddess of Glass, she teaches others her craft during classes that cover the creation of jewelry, coasters, plates, and transparent overalls. She?s also been known to flex her instructional muscle as a guest artist on the DIY Network show Cramped Quarters, where she taught the show?s host and contractor how to make stained-glass tiles for a kitchen in the middle of remodeling.
The Goddess of Glass also sells artwork and gifts out of a separate retail shop. Patrons can commission a custom piece, such as a stained-glass window, or peruse a collection of pieces by more than 80 local artisans. The shop?s staff can also advise clients who need custom framing, helping them to pick the proper matting and frame so that their Richard Nixon rookie cards really pop.
The textile-pampering experts of Mulberrys Garment Care tend to dingy clothes with toxin-free cleaning methods and a commitment to quality that earned the shop a nod as Top Eco-Friendly Dry Cleaner by Minnesota Monthly in 2011. Offering 24-hour drop-offs or pickup and delivery service, the Mulberrys crew dry-cleans garments with pressurized CO2 and no heat, keeping clothes from returning with a chemical smell, faded colors, or an unhealthy sauna addiction. Laundry services suds up duds with purified water and environmentally friendly detergents before pressers hand-finish each garment and tailors scour seams for missing or cracked buttons. Tailoring and alteration operations let Mulberrys' skilled needle wielders exercise their 30 years of experience to fit clients with customized duds, and an online account system gives patrons instant access to billing, order status, and their pants' favorite music playlists.
With an eye for bold design, the staff at FinnStyle curates clothing, home décor, and other goods from Finnish designers including Marimekko, Iittala, and Artek. The online store and brick-and-mortar building house wares that have been featured in magazines such as Lucky, Dwell, and The Nest. Among the items, colorful bolts of Marimekko fabric await future occupations as curtains, pillow covers, or dresses, and Kalevala jewelry designs, modeled after archeological finds from the Iron Age, form bold statement pieces for the neck, ears, and wrists.
Harsh soaps. Reappearing stains. Strange residue. These are just a few of the things inexperienced carpet-cleaning companies leave behind after they've packed their gear and left. Zerorez Carpet Care's staffers take great pride in their ability to get rid of carpet stains and dirt without leaving remnants of soaps and detergents that can be harmful to kids, pets, and ghosts who prefer to walk instead of float. They fight grime with their patented Empowered Water system––a truck-mounted apparatus that spruces up floors with a nontoxic formula. Although carpet cleaning is their forte, Zerorez also visits homes and businesses to perform air duct cleaning, water damage restoration, and other industrial cleaning services.
When Layl McDill's daughters were little, she would carry small bricks of polymer clay in her purse for them to play with. Over the years, the pastime evolved into a serious profession for her. Forming ropes of the colorful, malleable material into millefiore canes, McDill honed her skills, creating patterns, pictures, and delicious pies from the carefully sliced clay logs. With the help and support of her husband and fellow artist, Josh Blanc, Layl founded Clay Squared to Infinity in 1996, where today she not only creates and displays her own artwork, but also leads classes for clay-curious artists of all ages.
Light streams through the windows at Glass Endeavors, glinting through a crowd of stained-glass hangings that set bright shapes bobbing across the floor. Longtime educators John and Zoi Sandy have decorated the space both to showcase artwork for sale and to shower students with inspiration in classes that might help students craft a sparkly wind chime or a pal for a lonely Hummel figurine. The shop further fuses together the glass-making community with a freeform Glass Club, a supplies department, and repair services.