Since opening in 1996, the South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center has grown like a weed, from 1 to 182 acres, providing a home for thousands of birds, butterflies, and blossoming plants. Their gardens, greenhouses, trails, and boardwalks are set into the landscape of the Oso Creek, allowing guests to observe species in their natural habitat without provoking the ire of territorial snapdragons. Following a mission to advance knowledge and appreciation of the environment, the organization also hosts classes and workshops on topics such as orchidology and cooking cactus for dinner. Members’ annual contributions help to sustain the nonprofit organization and garner them unlimited admission, discounts at Nature's Boutique, and invitations to members-only events, such as the annual member-plant dance.
The technicians at Nature's Own Chimney Cleaning and Repair ensure that any crackling fire in the hearth is safe by specializing in the prevention, detection, and correction of chimney and venting-system hazards. They also perform pressure washing, duct care, and cleaning services, keeping houses safe and ready for the elements.
Posted 2 miles away from the historic Lexington Battle Green, the staff at Armstrong Flag Company take pride in the stars and stripes. The company specializes in American flags, made in the United States with domestic materials, and also has a vast selection of flags for countries all over the globe. Novelty flags unfurl and run up flagpoles to pay homage to sports teams and political views. Sports memorabilia, such as kitchenware, decorations, tailgating gear, and game-worn mascot collars, rounds out the selection for die-hard NFL, MLB, and NCAA fans.
In the eight years since the start of Local Furniture Outlet, the cherished baby business of Mr. Aaron Masterson has grown up fast?from a 2,000-square-foot metal warehouse to four locations and more than 80,000 combined square feet of furniture. But the success didn't go to Aaron?s head. The proud father still traverses showrooms in casual flip-flops, enforcing a no-competition policy so that loyal staff members don?t feel pressured to make a quota. The stripped-down showrooms allow for lower price tags on direct-from-manufacturer brands such as Ashley, Simmons, and Crown Mark. Patrons are invited to peruse dining-room, living-room, and bedroom sets?or ?kick the tires,? as Aaron puts it?without the pushy-push of larger retailers, who may use turkey legs to reward team members for sales.
For more than 60 years, The Blossom Shop Florist has intricately arranged flowers, plants, and fruit baskets. The large selection of fresh and tropical flowers can be mixed and matched to create a floral display appropriate for special occasions, including birthdays, Valentine's Day, weddings, funerals, and monster-truck rallies. Peace lilies ($65), azalea baskets ($40), and a variety of mixed bouquets ($85+) are appropriate for everyday occasions; a dozen roses ($95) expresse love and two-dozen roses ($165) expresses even more love. In addition to flowers, fruit baskets are also available, such as the fruit-and-blooms basket, a mix of fresh seasonal fruit and a blooming azalea ($85), and the gourmet-and-fruit basket, which contains fresh fruit and a spread of epicurean edibles ($65).
The Ukraine, 1914. Sam Braslau, the son of a miller, has saved enough money to immigrate to America. When he arrives, he peddles clothing from a horse-drawn buggy to earn the money to send for his brothers. In 1925, the brothers open the first Braslau’s—a dry-goods store. In 1927, the brothers expand their scope, adding furniture to their inventory. With this decision, they ensure that their name would stay on the lips of design-minded homeowners for the rest of their lives and beyond.
Today, Braslau's Fine Home Furnishings has evolved into a 70,000-square-foot furniture showroom, where Blake Breslau continues to hone his family’s accumulated knowledge and experience in the furniture industry. Inside, customers browse desks, chairs, sofas, and dinettes from brands such as Ashley Furniture, Broyhill, Klaussner Home Furnishings, and LaCrosse. In the sleep center, mattresses from Sealy, Simmons, and Tempur-Pedic promise the perfect night’s sleep, or the perfect testing ground for amateur trampoline routines.