Bakers Park's cakesmiths are visual artists, using buttercream and fondant like a painter uses watercolors and buttercream. They draw from a large palette, mixing batter into flavors such as chocolate or red velvet. Eventually, all of these components come together into an elaborate design, such as a birthday cake shaped like a giant cheeseburger, or a baby shower cake that looks like a kid's shoe. And while they specialize in these sorts of cakes, not everything the bakers create is destined for a party. They also make cookies, cupcakes, pies, and other everyday treats.
Though their processes are meticulous, there are no secret recipes at Bakers Park. The bakers happily teach the tricks of their trade to curious would-be confectioners during cake classes.
Radcliffe houses a wide selection of fine jewelry, luxury watches, and accessories from respected brands such as John Hardy, TAG Heuer, Charriol, and more. Shoppers can turn to nearly 100 well-trained employees for help navigating extensive product displays throughout their 10,000 square-foot Towson space and 17,500 square-foot Pikesville space. Classic pieces, such as the simple Radcliffe sterling-silver hoop earrings ($70) and Honora 5.5 mm freshwater white pearl studs ($60) are found alongside more exclusive finds such as the Meisterstuck pen pouch ($135) by upscale writing-implement purveyor Montblanc. On-site gemologists also provide free appraisals for all new goods purchased in the store upon request.
Family owned and operated since 1914, Smyth Jewelers lavishes customers with expertly cut gems and attentive service. Fill Valentine's present voids with designer necklaces ($32.50 and up), adorn lonely lobes with earrings ($28 and up), or add panache to foosball matches with sparkling rings ($50 and up). The caring staff will not force shoppers into splurging on baubles, but rather will introduce them to pieces that fit their needs in design and price. Smyth also purveys gifts such as silver platters, wine coasters, crystal decanters, and decorative bowls to fill with fruits, pocket change, or collector edition condiment packets. Perusers of higher-end items may fuse two Groupons to put towards purchases over $300, selecting from shinables such as the 18-karat diamond stud earrings clasped in white gold ($340). Smyth's six certified gemologists ward off showy intruders, admitting only GIA or AGS approved gems with the most refined facets and credible qualities.
Craig Coyne's wares speckle owners with a dazzling shine emanating from sterling silvers, yellow gold, and precious stones. Adorn lobes with the sterling silver sparkle plenty earrings ($99), with the multicolored gemstones and pearls of the drop earrings ($60), or with last year's tree ornaments. The flat freshwater pearls of the blue moon bracelet set add an aquatic accent to any empty appendage ($90), and the bypass ring's amber bead and freshwater pearls beckon high-fives and handshakes ($59). Similarly, the golden links with glitz watch, complete with an elegant gold-toned stainless-steel casing ($89), is more fashionable and practical than a sundial-shaped fedora.
For more than 70 years, Cy's of Catonsville has outfitted customers of all ages and swimming abilities in handpicked suits and accessories from renowned brands such as Speedo and TYR. Friendly sales personnel assist shoppers in selecting the ideal attire, be it Speedo Vanquisher goggles ($18) or female practice swimsuits ($40) for use in training or quick costume changes during underwater prom. Aqua Cell swim belts ($40) boost buoyancy, and the Finis Zoomers training fins ($36) employ a patented short-fin technology to enhance swimming kicks and help wearers reach out and pet ducks during 400-meter races.
Before Comfort One Shoes' sole experts are allowed to fit a single shoe to a customer's foot, they must graduate from Comfort One University and undergo a mentorship process. It's only then that they can help shoppers find their desired footwear, whether it be lace-up Ziera boots, On running shoes with CloudTec technology, or Thierry Rabotin shoes, handmade without uncomfortable, rigid components. Alongside men's and women's footwear, the shop stocks an assortment of bags and accessories such as colorful iPhone cases from Triple C Designs that protect phone exteriors and conceal scratches from the last time you transformed into a werewolf.
Comfort One Shoes also seeks to better the world through creative philanthropic efforts, such as collecting 25,000 shoes for those without and offering their employees half their pay and time off to volunteer in the community. Perhaps such initiatives are part of the reason Comfort One Shoes earned the National Shoe Retailers Association’s Retailer of the Year Award in 2011.