Alan J. Gardner opened his Salem factory in 1933, winning over generations of loyal customers with custom-made and odd-sized mattresses in a wide range of styles. Massachusetts-made pallets support sleepers with hand tufted construction and fluffy cotton fillings catered specifically to each client's specifications. The company's direct manufacturer-to-customer supply chain erases the influence of bothersome middlemen or arrogant, cigar-chomping mattress barons. Sleepers select from a variety of comfy cushion styles, such as latex, plush top, tufted, or pocket coils, with options for all-natural materials such as Joma wool and layers of thick cotton-knit fabric.
Plush mattresses from brands such as Serta, Simmons, Latex Bliss, and iComfort line the expansive show room at Sleep King, where same-day delivery ensures clients can choose a slumber surface and sleep on it that same night. Mattress materials run the gamut in styles, from traditional innerspring to body-conforming memory foam and muscle-relaxing latex foam. After testing these comfortable surfaces by simulating a night terror atop each one, visitors can peruse Sleep King’s selection of headboards, frames, and futons from Gold Bond.
In 1965, Popular Mechanics ran a small classified ad for Brookstone, a new catalog company that packed its pages with functional products and detail-oriented descriptions. Brookstone quickly expanded to meet the high demand for its collection of “hard-to-find tools,” and opened the door to its first retail location in 1973. Today, Brookstone’s more than 300 nationwide retail locations allow customers to test-drive its ever-growing lineup of interesting products, which range from Bluetooth-enabled massage chairs to power adapters designed for international travelers and their electronic passports. Staying true to its roots as a catalog company, Brookstone houses an even larger selection of products, each waiting patiently to be shipped, on its website.
Open seven days a week, City Housewares outfits stuff-starved kitchens, pantries, and cleaning closets. Craft cups of first-class java in a Bodum french press ($12) or blend refreshing cocktails with a Silex electronic juicer ($17). City Housewares also helps homeowners organize out-of-control caftan collections with Sterilite storage containers and quell cutlery cravings with an assortment of Oxo knives and cooking tools ($4–$25). Stock up on spring-cleaning supplies, such as Mrs. Meyers cleaning products ($5–$16) and True Blues kitchen gloves ($9.50), or give attention-starved dishtowels a place to preen with a wooden drying rack ($15–$30).
At The Clayroom, an evening spent decorating bisque pottery pieces can spark conversation and unleash each guest's inner artist. Visitors hunker down next to one of the studio?s two working fireplaces and work on their selected pottery pieces. After choosing anything from coffee mugs or butter dishes to cereal bowls, painters brush on various colors to create their own pieces of art. The studio kicks open its doors for birthday parties and baby showers, and hosts weekly events as Pizza Night and Wine and Cheese Night.