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.
Drill bits twist, measuring tape unfurls, and saws chomp through two-by-fours in ACE Hardware, where shelves dangle with scores of tools and other home-improvement essentials. Wall pigment by Ace Paint and Benjamin Moore beams across the color spectrum as faucet parts and cabinet hardware retool aging abodes and jury-rigged time machines. Large appliances, such as Honeywell space heaters, Perfect Aire air conditioners, and Cadet thermostats, keep indoor air at a comfortable temperature. Outside, bags of seed and compost join charcoal grills to brighten backyard celebrations as rolling hand trucks heft heavy lumber purchases or prefab doghouses for socialite canines. Tools, electrical tape, and other handyman essentials round out each location's array of fixative and creative supplies.
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A two-year subscription to Woodcraft Magazine arms lathe laureates and router rookies alike with 12 issues of tips, tool reviews, and step-by-step instructions for a range of projects. With articles contributed by seasoned level-five woodworking gurus, recent issues have dispensed sage advice on such topics as glue management, staying safe at the table saw, and breaking boards with the power of suggestion. Step-by-step photography accompanies each set of design instructions, clearly detailing the progress of projects such as a fully finished set of stackable wine racks or a modular home office with a red-oak-and-plywood design. Tool experts introduce readers to the latest in woodworking technology with product reviews, and shop-design specialists keep timber tinkerers efficient with articles on specialized storage, shop setup, and making a robot assistant out of a mini fridge.
A fire truck full of high-spirited children may sound like a field trip gone awry, but Celebration Party Rental sets this scene safely for youngsters jump and play in truck-shaped bounce houses. The party-supply company’s array of inflatables extends to designs that resemble a princess’s castle or come adorned with stills from Pixar’s Cars. The spray of a hose converts its various inflatable slides into waterslides. To complement these instant-carnival scenes, the business supplies popcorn poppers and other concessions equipment.