With winter looming like a cloud of spilled oatmeal on the horizon, now is the ideal time to batten down the hatches and get home-care projects underway. Colorfully feather your nest with paints and supplies from Benjamin Moore (starting at $3.99), or eradicate stray skids with Bona floor products and accessories (starting at $7.99). Pick up some multi-purpose Gorilla Glue ($2.99 - $8.99) for minor repairs, or to finally mount every buffalo nickel and steel penny in your coin collection. Additional selections of tools, hardware, and cleaning products keep dens snug through cold winter months. Should plentiful options make your head perform pirouettes, a helpful staff is on hand with dedicated customer service that will bring back fond memories of simpler days, such as December 8, 1947, or September 26, 1959. Whatever the project may be, Wexford Ace Hardware carries the wares and professional guidance to get the home-improvement wheel running without unexpected leaks or squeaking noises. Top-drawer customer service, an enormous stock of supplies for all occasions, competitive prices, and the ability to special order any product make Ace the place that houses dream about when they begin having existential crises.
For 17 years, third-generation and FAA–certified sky engineer Addison M. Brown has hoisted panorama junkies into the sky by harnessing the power of hot, blustery air. Each morning, between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., he and his team pile up to 8 to 14 passengers into the basket of their giant balloons. Then, firing off the burner, they slowly lift off as the sun begins its own ascent, typically reaching heights from 500 to 2,000 feet. Below them, the rays of the sunrise wash over vistas of downtown Asheville, a patchwork of multicolored crop fields, and the tree-covered backs of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Maneuvering with the morning's mild wind currents, they ferry the group over hills and hollows for a 3- to 5-mile float. Upon a gentle landing, the crew celebrates with passengers by offering them a champagne toast and helping them dust the clouds out of their hair. Passengers are welcomed to bring their own cameras or video cameras to document the flight.
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.
The secondhand building materials, home furnishings, and antique treasures residing within Construction Junction's 30,000-square-foot warehouse all dodged a trip to the landfill in order to be repurposed in construction or decorating projects. Twenty departments come stocked with items ranging from major appliances and plumbing accessories to lumber and wardrobes that lead to Narnia. The crew of staff, volunteers, and interns at this nonprofit company cares not only for the environment, by finding a new home for functional wares, but also for the community, by supporting organizations such as Goodwill.
After more than 120 years of sprucing up homes with high-quality paints and home décor, Westmoreland Supply continues the tradition with a variety of PPG Pittsburgh Paints. Made from a 100% acrylic formula, Manor Hall interior paints ($48.18–$51.57) coat walls in several stain-resistant sheens, such as the soft, subtle Eggshell. Or, Manor Hall exterior paint with Manorshield ($53.49–$58.84) has an urethane-fortified mildew-resistant finish that prevents cracking and peeling in any weather condition, from heavy summer downpours to winter cold snaps to Halloween toilet-paper storms.
Operating one of Pittsburgh's largest airsoft facilities, Valhalla Indoor Airsoft's owners named their arena after the legendary hall of Viking warriors as a sign of respect and a celebration of camaraderie. Realizing that airsoft can look intimidating from the outside, they maintain a nonaggressive, family-friendly atmosphere to encourage new players to try the sport. The house rules emphasize safety, such as never intentionally taking headshots, saying "bang bang" when within 5 feet of an opponent, and never planting old banana peels.
With the house rules in mind, players enter a warehouse filled with cover such as rooms constructed of wood, camouflage barricades, stacks of tires, and even a car crashed into a stop sign. These challenging obstacles foster a battleground-like ambience that demands teamwork and tactical thinking for players to win Valhalla's scenario-based and objective games. And to complement bouts of "Rob the Bank" or "Get Out of Jail," the facility also house an onsite pro shop, Cool Stuff by L&M, where the staff services gear and dispenses advice.