Although it can be tough to sum up a consignment store's eclectic stock in only a few words, Judy Schordock, owner of The Red Geranium, feels she's up to the challenge. "If it's unusual, collectible, whimsical, valuable, or exceptional, we've got it," her website says. She particularly specializes in home furnishings and clothing, ranging from classic china sets to vintage costumes. She also stocks her shelves with fine, handmade goods alongside designer labels.
Judy maintains a highly curated, constantly revolving collection by only accepting consignments on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. She also allows unsold items to remain on her shelves for no longer than eight weeks before she donates them to charities that serve the needy. If items are sold within the eight-week span, Judy rewards their original owners with a slice of the profit.
During the days of antiquity, artisans often recorded major cultural and historical events on the sides of their intricate pots. Although books and computers took over most of the archiving duties, the practice of painting ceramics as a means of commemoration continues today. At Kiln Pottery, shelves of uncolored pieces await the inspiration of local artists and artists-to-be. After grabbing the necessary supplies, guests add their touch to one of the hundreds of available pieces, including platters, mugs, and bowls. Those interested in building their own creations can opt for a class in hand building clay or pottery wheel throwing. A series of workshops focuses on specific projects, such as fusing glass night-lights, weaving clay baskets, or exploring where ceramic babies come from. Sessions are open to kids and adults, and can be reserved for groups or parties.
Joe Butler doesn't do things halfway. When he wanted to learn to be a physical trainer, he went to LA, trained with some of the top trainers in the world, and began training pro athletes and movie stars. Then he opened his own personal training gym, where he assembled a team of trainers with a combined 200 years of training experience. These days, he and his trainers lead guests of all fitness levels through training programs that include boot-camp, speed-and-agility, and RX Fit classes. Every student who walks into Prescription Fitness is treated to a health assessment and goal-setting consultation, allowing clients to slim down, bulk up, or prep for javelin season.
Elegant Ice Creations’s certified master carver Aaron Costic, the National Ice Carving Association's 2011 tour champion, employs 22 years of experience as he chisels custom ice sculptures and luges for a variety of occasions. Sculptures are carved from 300-pound blocks ($200–$275) into seasonal shapes, wedding designs, or company logos as well as custom drink-holding luges perfect for distributing ice-cold beverages at rowdy parties. Sculptures can be illuminated with the customer's choice of white, blue, green, red, violet, or color-changing LED lights. Talented teams of frost technicians deliver and set up icy artworks with lighting and a drip pan, which collects leftover water so it can be thrown into the air to water thirsty clouds.
One of the East Coast's best-known Members-only wholesale retailers, BJ's serves more than six million Members in more than 200 Clubs as far west as Ohio. Within these sprawling locations, BJ's helps provide more selections to savvy shoppers looking to knock out most of their errands in a single stop. In the same visit, Members can stock up on economy-sized groceries?including USDA choice meats, farm-fresh produce, organics and naturals, and everyday essentials?grab name-brand electronics, and even plan a vacation through BJ's Travel. Each service makes up a single part of BJ's well-rounded retail experience, but simplifying shopping isn't BJ's only goal; in 2013 alone, the company donated more than $4 million to charitable organizations.
The staff at New Balance isn't concerned with simply selling shoes—their mission is to pair customers with the footwear that will carry them comfortably through life’s arduous steps. Understanding that an ill-fitting pair of athletic shoes can cause pain to joints and potentially damage knees, hips, and the back, associates measure the length and width of each client's foot and conduct a gait analysis to chart the trajectory of their stride when walking normally or running through ball pits. The data are collected to help the staff match clients with their ideal shoe, keeping them running longer and looking good while doing so.