Coastal Sewing Machines set sail nearly two decades ago, hopping between various locations on the Connecticut coast as it lured schools of quilters and seamstresses. Within the shop, needle aficionados guide guests through an inventory of cloth that stretches more than 10,000 yards, providing options for any project and the means of making a football stadium a nice dress shirt. Their selection of high-end sewing machines, embroidery machines, and sergers from Viking, Pfaff, and Baby Lock grants supreme stitching power to complement their supply of notions and bring customer creations to life. Coastal's textile techs also expand the sewing community through an ever-changing schedule of classes. Students can learn basics while making useful items such as luggage tags embroidered with their name. The shop also slings classes on more advanced topics, from designing tote bags to operating a serger.
The careful collectors at Haddam Family Consignments cull gems of gently used upscale apparel, vintage and modern jewelry, and furniture to resell in their cozy shop. Items rotate regularly, but recent collections have included a Ralph Lauren blouse ($13.75) and a J. Crew sweater ($9.75) to keep appendages warm more fashionably than a sleeve made of insulation foam. Juicy Couture faux-fur hoodies ($69.95) and sleek Unik black leather motorcycle jackets ($55) for men and women preserve torsos against whipping winter winds and cool spring breezes. The store also houses a vast selection of goods, ranging from handbags and home décor to children's toys, books, and DVDs, for a collection of items more diverse than the participants at a snowflake convention.
Thames River Greenery unites the fineries of several artisans in the New London community to festoon patrons' lines of vision with an intricate blend of floral arrangements and gifts. Brighten rooms and nourish pet honeybees with floral bouquets such as the spring oasis ($50+), which brings together tulips, hot-pink spray roses, purple mokara orchids, and seafoam statice in a glass cylinder vase. Boxed chocolates ($9.99+) and stuffed animals($9.99+) can be added to arrangements to provide flowers with comfort and sustenance during car rides to their new homes. In addition to plush and prismatic gifts, Thames River carries its own line of wine and spirits ($10+) as well as an array of imported cheeses ($8+). To complement meals with new and interesting flavors, customers can take home a tote of Stonewall Kitchen specialty sauces ($29.95+), including wasabi-ginger sauce, coffee-caramel sauce, and sun-dried tomato-and-olive relish.
For more than a century, Ring's End has put quality home improvement products in the hands of homeowners and contractors. A Stanley FatMax level ($30.99) ensures all paintings and ouija boards are hung correctly, and a gallon of Benjamin Moore Regal Classic paint ($40.19) creates a vibrant new hue on staid interior walls. Fiberon composite decking ($2.95+/ft.) helps to craft sturdy, colorful backyard-grilling platforms and arrives backed by a 20-year limited warranty. Handymen and women can keep tools easily accessible, organized, and ready to travel with a Veto Pro Pac tool bag ($144.99), which holds more than 100 hand tools and includes six zippered pockets to hide worksite snacks from Bob Vila.
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, 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 2012 alone, the company donated more than $2.2 million to charitable organizations.