Tools in Richfield

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When a baby room takes the place of a man cave, once-cherished leather couches and entertainment centers often wind up curbside, waiting for their ride to the landfill. The Habitat for Humanity ReStore saves furniture from an untimely demise and stocks new and used building materials, using the proceeds to help to create affordable homes for the city's low-income families. Manufacturers, businesses, contractors, and individuals regularly stop in to donate a variety of items ranging from caulk to file cabinets to paintbrushes. The mostly volunteer staff at ReStore spent 2010 keeping more than 730,000 pounds of usable supplies out of landfills and trash mountains.

3015 N 114th St
Wauwatosa,
WI
US

Most of K Komfort's technicians and engineers draw on more than a quarter-century of experience in improving indoor air quality and lowering energy bills. Having witnessed the evolution of heating and cooling technology, the crew deftly repairs old furnaces and installs efficient, new air-conditioner systems with techniques learned in NARI continuing-education programs. HEPA-approved equipment clears ductwork of pesky particles that cause asthma, allergies, and dinnertime interruptions by nuclear physicists, and filtration systems help maintain fresh air once technicians are out of the picture. Their preferred brand is Carrier, but the service truck is stocked with a library of parts from other manufacturers so maintenance often can be completed in one visit.

3950 N Holton St
Milwaukee,
WI
US

Hardware by Design, Inc. invites shoppers to peruse its 2,800-square-foot show room of copper sinks, decorative towel bars, cabinet hardware, and door hardware. Knowledgeable hardware designers can help homeowners make decorative decisions with house walk-throughs, and the store also offers free estimates. Plumbing fixtures from Mico Designs and California Faucets add touches of fashion and function to showers and baths, and vanities and sinks from Thompson Traders and Rocky Mountain Hardware turn everyday teeth brushing into luxurious ivory massaging. Locksets and knobs from top industry brands such as Ashley Norton, Nobilus, Bravura, and Top Knobs transform lackluster doors and kitchen cabinets into practical works of art.

1778 N Casaloma Dr
Appleton,
WI
US

Since 1912, four generations of Zimmermanns have stocked the shelves at the 15,000-square-foot Zimmermann True Value Hardware store with durable hardware supplies, gardening equipment, and other home-improvement goods. Shoppers can peruse the aisles to pick up handy items such as screwdriver sets, hammers, and miniature contractors for DIY projects. Standing strong by their commitment to superior customer service, the staff also provides convenient services including knife sharpening, computerized paint matching, and screen repair.

745 S Buffalo Grove Rd
Buffalo Grove,
IL
US

It might be hard to believe considering its vast array of products, but Sears, Roebuck and Co. began with one accessory: watches. In 1886, Richard W. Sears bought a box of unwanted watches from a jeweler, thinking he could turn a profit by selling them. He was correct and committed to the watch business by hiring Alvah C. Roebuck, an experienced watchmaker.

As time went on, though, their business expanded its umbrella far beyond what people wore on their wrists. Sears became known as the place to shop for almost any appliance, from sewing machines to those magical boxes that create water from nothing and clean your clothes.

Today, the stores stock clothing, accessories, electronics, kitchen equipment, tools for outdoor living, and home decor. This variety is sustained by Sears's proprietary brands—Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard, to name a few—and other national names that populate the shelves.

10954 North Port Washington Road
Mequon,
WI
US

Eddie Z's Blinds and Drapery dresses dapper wall-holes in a variety of shades, shutters, and other window-covering garments. During a complimentary at-home consultation, a designer will help clients select window treatments, or customers can come to a showroom to observe blinds in their natural habitat. Homeowners can opt to add an earthy accent to rooms with woven wood shades ($72+), or trap runaway air in the insulating compartments of honeycomb cellular shades ($67+). Horizontal-line haters can choose vertical blinds that come in more than 300 colors, styles, and fruit flavors ($55+).

14685 W Capitol Dr
Brookfield,
WI
US