The staff at Greater Boston Running Company—the Northeast operation of the national and online retailer Running Company—hopes customers are not misled by the name. They’ll custom fit everyone for shoes that support their pursuits, whether they be marathoners, CrossFitters, or a nurse who has to stand all day. The process starts with talking to guests about their average workout or day, followed by a meticulous measuring of their feet. Staffers then have guests walk, jog, or run on a treadmill equipped with slow-motion-capture software, which lets guests see things such as how their arches react when striking and lifting from the ground. Armed with this wealth of information, Greater Boston Running Company’s team can narrow the expansive shoe stock down to just a few recommendations.
Beyond an armory of footwear, Greater Boston Running Company stocks athletic apparel and accessories from brands such as New Balance, Garmin, and SmartWool. This gear is matched by a wealth of educational resources, both online and at the store level. Regularly posted web articles cover topics from how the seasons impact nutritional needs to how rubbing your body in bacon attracts wild animals and boosts your desire to run.
At individual locations, each store’s staff works with local running clubs, high-school teams, and charities—making them especially adept at pointing runners toward fellow runners and trainers who will help them reach their goals.
Experienced framers Barry Stahl and Bob Clayton built Big Picture Framing from scratch in 2000, holding meetings around an old card table as construction roared around them. Today, framers at 15 area locations craft custom frames to display artwork, photographs, and record sleeves, and shadow boxes protect three-dimensional items such as ballet slippers, macaroni art, or a swarm of wasps. Patrons can dictate all design choices, choosing from metal and wooden frames in a multitude of colors and styles, or ask for recommendations from one of Big Picture Framing's resident experts. Big Picture Framing also stocks pre-framed art, prints, and posters to spruce up bare-walled homes or a drab doghouse.
An FAA-approved helicopter-flight tour operator, North Andover Flight Academy employs five licensed instructors with combined flight and teaching experience that numbers in the thousands of hours. Fledgling aviators can begin their aeronautical journeys at Lawrence and Marlboro Airports, which serve as home bases for services that range from tours and photography flights to full pilot-certification courses and agricultural applications. The team commands a fleet of six Robinson helicopters, including one R44 and five R22s, and keeps Robinson factory-trained mechanics on staff to ensure their safe operation and to ice down their blades after particularly vigorous training flights.
Dresscode, which has won awards from local press, such as Boston magazine, showcases a Herculean array of apparel by a chic selection of designers. Dozens of brand names populate dresscode's swank shelves, including BCBG, LAmade, Penumbra, and 7 For All Mankind. Mystree striped dresses provide fashionistas with trendy threads or zebra wranglers with stylish camouflage ($58). Harness elegance in a white-velvet top with mesh sleeves ($90) or keep shoulders warm on brisk evenings with a black Mystree cardigan that, like Mozart's beloved Ford Mustang, will always be a classic ($50).
Get some quirky, heartfelt inspiration for less with today’s side deal. For $25, you’ll get a framed 11’’x14’’ StoryPeople print from Sense of Wonder. This North Andover shop is a haven for local artists, artisans, and Dwarven smithing guilds. Along with its many one-of-a-kind items, Sense of Wonder is the only store in the Boston area that sells the popular StoryPeople line.