A woman strolls into the framing shop clasping the hood ornament of a car. She doesn't know much about it, except that it was attached to the car her grandfather drove around town during his youth. Not wanting the trinket to sit in a dusty drawer any longer, she hands it over to a staff member and asks him to turn it into piece of art equipped to hang on a wall. Since The Preservation Framer's doors flung open in November 2008, its team has restored and preserved memory-laden keepsakes ranging from photographs to wedding gowns to violins. During each framing project, specialists use museum-quality materials to securely encase items within custom-cut frames, available in more than 700 colors and three fruit flavors. Exposed brick walls, hardwood floors, and a tin ceiling enclose the storefront, which doubles as an art gallery that showcases local, regional, and intergalactic artists' work at least four times a year. The Preservation Framer's downtown-area surroundings also keep clients entertained with an assortment of restaurants and boutiques.
One of the East Coast's best-known Members-only wholesale retailers, BJ's serves more than six million Members in more than 200 Clubs as far west as Ohio. Within these sprawling locations, BJ's helps provide more selections to savvy shoppers looking to knock out most of their errands in a single stop. In the same visit, Members can stock up on economy-sized groceries?including USDA choice meats, farm-fresh produce, and everyday essentials?grab name-brand electronics, and even plan a vacation through BJ's Travel. Each service makes up a single part of BJ's well-rounded retail experience, but simplifying shopping isn't BJ's only goal; in 2012 alone, the company donated more than $2.2 million to charitable organizations.
The staff of teachers and artists at Weirdgirl Creations helps customers up-level their creativity every day. Prices begin at $3 and range to over $400, but the massive selection of more than 200 pieces of pottery ensures that a fitting selection is available for any budding Pablo Picasso or Dan Quayle. There are no special skills or equipment required to decorate a bowl, plate, or any other ceramic that catches the eye, so walk-ins are welcome. Lead-free, non-staining glazes are available in a wide spectrum of colors and a variety of varietals, including sparkle, high-gloss, and high-fire look-crystal glaze.
European friends Pernilla Frazier and Line Daems founded Kreatelier in 2007. Since then, solid local press has helped bring crafters from around the area into the shop. Its quaint quarters feature a diverse collection of product designs including bags, quilts, reusable gift wraps, and various accessories, all enhanced by crafty workshops that educate interested art architects. Rampant pencil collections can be put to rest with large cotton pencil cases ($18), which are washable, rollable, and feature 11 pockets, while manicure and pedicure cases ($15) help keep tools and other grooming paraphernalia from escaping. Keep rebellious flocks of hair at bay with a brightly colored headband ($8), elegantly wrap bottles of precious fermented fruits inside wine bags ($10), or organize a messy back seat with the car-seat organizer ($40), which withstands abuse and the effects of time travel.