It might be hard to believe considering its vast array of products, but Sears, Roebuck and Co. began with one accessory: watches. In 1886, Richard W. Sears bought a box of unwanted watches from a jeweler, thinking he could turn a profit by selling them. He was correct and committed to the watch business by hiring Alvah C. Roebuck, an experienced watchmaker.
As time went on, though, their business expanded its umbrella far beyond what people wore on their wrists. Sears became known as the place to shop for almost any appliance, from sewing machines to those magical boxes that create water from nothing and clean your clothes.
Today, the stores stock clothing, accessories, electronics, kitchen equipment, tools for outdoor living, and home decor. This variety is sustained by Sears's proprietary brands—Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard, to name a few—and other national names that populate the shelves.
Speckled fish swim languidly through turquoise-blue water beneath an orange sky. Nearby, a pair of white cranes stretch their long necks toward the sun, and sea turtles glide past fronds of kelp looking for their lost keys. But this isn't an exotic animal sanctuary—rather, these natural scenes are captured in gleaming stained glass. The charming images are the work of the craftsmen at D & L Art Glass, a studio specializing in stained and leaded panes. They shape artistic pieces to adorn windows or doors, form colorful pendants, and etch eye-catching patterns into metal or stone surfaces. Instead of keeping their crystalline knowledge to themselves, the experts instruct others in the glass arts during classes and multiday workshops.
Though the titular owner of Crazy Dave's Music might tell you his music shop began with dragons and goblins, it really began with the even more fantastic 1980s. Years after assuming ownership of a failing Orange Park pawn shop, Dave realized that the most popular items in his inventory were always musical instruments. In keeping with the demand, he banded together with local musicians to turn his space into a fully realized music store. Construction crews renovated new rooms for live sound equipment and effects lighting, filled the old jewelry cases with pedals and microphones, and lined the walls with mixing equipment and synthesizers. Today, Dave's store still houses a menagerie of instruments and accessories. Shelves and corners filled with DJ gear and high-end guitars bear the logos of famous brands such as Fender, Moog, and Yamaha.
Mattress1One's immense inventory brims with top-quality slumbering surfaces from renowned brands such as Tempur-Pedic, Serta, Sealy, and Stearns & Foster. At multiple locations throughout Florida, knowledgeable staff members roam showrooms that brim with an array of mattresses forged from such materials as memory foam, high-tech innersprings, silk, and cashmere. They also curate an online Mattress 101 guide, which includes handy tips on selecting the ideal mattress size, keeping the mattress in tiptop shape, and mounting a rock-solid legal defense in case you accidentally rip the tags off.
For more than 30 years, the staff at the family-owned Leonard's Furniture has helped homeowners make their dwellings more livable by stocking a 14,000 sq. ft. showroom full of décor and furnishings from more than 150 vendors. The team makes the shopping process easier by delivering and assembling any in-stock items free of charge. Those items include furnishings for dining rooms, living rooms, and bedrooms from brands such as Ashley, Lane, FlexSteel, and Tempur-Pedic. The store's comprehensive stock includes home office staples including desks, chairs, and mirrors that come in varying sizes and opinions on Snow White. Shoppers can also find equipment to furnish home-entertainment rooms, such as theater seats that eject anyone who takes out their cell phone during a movie.
"Take care of your customers and they will take care of you" has been the standing credo of Wood You Furniture’s owner, Tom Bolton, for nearly three decades. Today, the solid-wood-furniture purveyor and his two sons, TJ and Andrew, still espouse this customer-first mentality as they meander the floor to aid customers with their expertise. The store sources sturdy furniture made solely from solid woods, both finished and unfinished. The selection ranges from traditional to contemporary with bedroom, dining, and child-specific furniture capable of withstanding generation upon generation of Play-Doh-related messes and indoor firework shows. The store also offers custom design and finishing services, as well as delivery services.