When owners Nancy Kanter and Julie Byrne founded Clay Café more than 14 years ago, they wanted to establish a cozy, unpretentious environment where families could spend quality time pottery-painting and embarking on other art projects. Describing what they envisioned to the Columbus Dispatch, Byrne stated, “We kind of wanted a grandma kitchen—something homey.” At Clay Café, visitors might forget they’re not relaxing in their own homes amid the studio’s popular mismatched chairs, flower tablecloths, and resident father yelling at a sports game on TV. The hospitable owners invite guests of all ages to let their artist instincts run wild during open-ended potter-painting sessions, and they host an array of special events including baby showers and birthday parties.
Since 1983, families have spent their holidays around the television, watching A Christmas Story and joining in the triumphs and failures of 9-year-old Ralphie as he struggles to secure a Red Ryder BB gun from Santa's bag. Although the cult-classic film showed Ralphie living in Indiana, the house in which the movie took place rests in Cleveland?and is now a museum. When MSNBC interviewed lifelong fan and A Christmas Story House & Museum owner Brian Jones, they profiled the story of how he found the house on eBay and jumped at the chance to own it. Today, he?s turned it into a year-round place of pilgrimage for fans and the site of an occasionally-held convention for Ralphies.
Jones?s restoration has returned rooms to exactly how they were in the film, letting guests gaze at the tinsel-strewn tree with its star falling off and explore the bathroom where Ralphie?s mouth was washed out with soap?a time-tested method for cavity prevention. Visitors can even attempt to hide like little Randy in the cabinet under the sink. After seeing the backyard that still houses the original shed, where Ralphie defended his family against Black Bart, fans head across the street to the A Christmas Story House & Museum. Here, original props such as the toys from the Higbee?s department-store window, Randy?s snowsuit, and Miss Shields?s classroom chalkboard join other memorabilia and hundreds of behind-the-scenes photos. Before leaving, guests drop into the gift shop to pick up a leg lamp just like the one Ralphie's old man cherished so dearly.
Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.
Ken Cappelletty and Fred Moor, the men who man Ken’s Flower Shops, didn’t grow up dreaming about buds and stems. Raised by a local policeman, Ken likely spent more time playing cops and robbers than sniffing the neighbor’s rosebushes. It wasn’t until he helmed the cash register at a neighborhood florist in L.A. that he discovered his knack for design. Here, he started to see flowers as more than just plants, viewing them as art supplies that happen to smell nice. When Ken returned to Ohio, his parents helped him launch a small shop that arranged blooms in the morning and delivered them in the afternoon. Two years later, in 1967, his friend Fred took some of the reins, helping him grow the business into three local stores affiliated with FTD and Teleflora. From this labor of love, a legacy began to take root. At each shop, seasoned designers incorporate customers’ requests into birthday bouquets, wedding corsages, and gift baskets filled with wine, house-baked cookies, and stuffed toys cute enough to melt hearts and plush enough to sop up the mess. Their talent and creativity takes center stage as well, whether they’re filling vases with orchids, crafting wreaths from roses, or building bouquets from singing balloons. To this day, Fred often answers the phones, discerning customers’ style preferences from friendly chats rather than pilfered diary pages. To make giving easy as getting, the shop’s wares can be delivered locally or internationally, seven days a week.
A father-and-son tandem owns and runs Custom Spray, which cares for clients’ lawns, trees, and shrubs with a bevy of beautifying services. When homeowners request a quote, a specialist from the staff descends upon the lawn in question to provide a price estimate in 15 minutes. The team’s certified arborist performs a full tree and shrub evaluation to assess health and climbability prior to any treatments to them. The staff further promotes lawn health by cranking up an aerator to break up soil compaction, and the outfit’s pest control service safely extinguishes infestations of bees, mosquitoes, and moles, making Custom Spray a favorite among CIA landscapers.
Edible Arrangements' fresh, artful fruit bouquets combine the aesthetic elements and emotive properties of floral arrangements with the juicy deliciousness and socially acceptable edibility of fruit. The sweetener-free, preservative-free baskets are all handcrafted for each order, ensuring freshness.