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.
For 22 years, Far Beyond Tint & Alarm proprietor Barry Morgan has personally helmed his business, amassing ample expertise in the realm of home- and vehicle-window tinting and alarm installation. His firm works to build a respectable reputation not only through its cherished relationship with customers such as local businesses and law enforcement, but also through its bond with its workers. The staff is comprised of employees who have tenures ranging from three to nine years, which is longer than presidents tend to stay on board at the White House. A host of expertly trained team members tend to the tinting and alarm-installation needs of vehicles and homes, with technicians boasting certification from the state in security-alarm systems and in automotive solar control from the IWFA.
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.
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.