The staff at Alltmont's Fine Custom Framing works with clients to devise unique combinations of frames and archival materials to protect photos, paintings, portraits, and memorabilia. Under the direction of expert framer Jeff Alltmont, Alltmont's Fine Custom Framing encloses wall hangings of all types in elegant, expertly crafted edgings. Within a large, bright workshop and retail space, customers peruse thousands of frame samples that adorn the walls in a single-file parade of right angles, displaying all available custom-frame colors, styles, and sizes. The friendly craftspersons at Alltmont's Fine Custom Framing obligingly advise customers in the process of designing the frame that gives their picture the snazziest hug, including custom mirrors, cork, and chalkboards. Each piece of Alltmont's handiwork is specially fitted to the specific treasure it houses, whether priceless works of art, pride-inducing diplomas and awards, or prized Vincent van Gogh Super Bowl jerseys.
In 1910, Harry Offner opened his first hardware shop on South Rampart Street in downtown New Orleans, setting the foundation for a local network of three retail stores with more than 27,000 items in stock and 90,000 more available through catalogs or the Ace Hardware website. Like a treasured heirloom or the gene for double-jointed elbows, the business has passed through three generations as Harry's grandkids currently mind the store to help homeowners and handy folks find cleaning and painting supplies, lawn-care implements, housewares, and tools from well-known brands. The knowledgeable staff also assists shoppers with a variety of services, from cutting keys and threading pipes to minor household repair jobs performed by licensed and insured handymen.
Though they operate more than 200 locations in upwards of 30 states, the team behind U.S. Baseball Academy aims to make each young athlete's experience a personal one. Their four- or six-week camps are taught by local instructors who are current or former coaches at the high school or college level, and typically offer a 6:1 or better player-to-teacher ratio for intense, professional-style training. The Academy's proven itinerary of hitting, pitching, fielding, and baserunning drills was developed by an advisory board of college coaches and Major League players, including Cy Young Award?winner and ace pitcher Brandon Webb.
Mattress Direct culls a variety of mattresses in textures ranging from firm to plush from brands such as Tempur-Pedic and Serta. Serta's iComfort, for example, evenly distributes support across the body with microsupport gel capsules nestled in its memory foam; a specialized material prevents overheating and the resulting unpleasant lava-chase nightmares. Mattress Direct's stock of bed frames, bed linens, and pillows allow patrons to assemble complete bedroom sets in one trip, and an express delivery service prevents the hassle of renting a moving truck or outfitting each leg of a new bed with a rollerblade.
Catherine and Scott McKearn leave no corner of the world unsearched in their quest to discover artisan furniture builders. The couple frequents faraway destinations in India, Indonesia, China, and Morocco to unearth beautiful solid-wood furniture to import directly to their three shops. In order to save their customers money, they buy pieces wholesale and ship them in 40-foot containers, bypassing both middlemen and price-gun-wielding pirates. Their furniture ranges in style from industrial to French country, and the eclectic selection rotates every few weeks to accommodate new shipments.
Nadeau characterizes its furniture as "with a soul" because it's true artisan work: handcrafted from wood rather than mass-produced from gasket pylons. Showcase fine china and live gerbils in a double-domed glass-door cabinet ($284), or in a hefty, finely trimmed kitchen hutch ($410). Or, display a new moving picture box on a delicately polished TV stand/buffet ($500). Small console tables ($160) and storage chests ($224) come in a myriad of stains and colors, and many pieces are one-of-a-kind. Nadeau's ever-changing inventory includes a variety of sturdy dining room tables ($435–$548) and chairs ($80 each). Prices and selection may vary due to rotating inventory, but pieces are always fully assembled and ready to welcome any tuckered torso or mound of toothbrushes.