California Backyard's five stores help homeowners turn outdoor spaces into full-fledged living areas with a variety of products, including barbecue grills, patio furniture, and hot tubs. California Backyard also provides its patrons with access to a team of service technicians skilled in the installation and repair of many of its products. Come the holidays, each store dedicates space to a Christmas trim-a-home center, where patrons can stock up on décor and pamphlets on healthy eating for Santa.
In Polar Bear Auto Care's warehouse-size shop, ASE-certified techs slip under hoods to fix or install air-conditioning and heating systems. Those systems are nearly identical to the factory units, as many of the systems they install are made by the same manufacturers. On their walls hang hundreds of parts, with more stored onsite, including new heater cores as well as compressor mounts for car models from the years 1965 to 1999. This lets them work on all kinds of vehicles, from brand-new cars and tractors to RVs and vintage UFOs. They back up their services with a two-year or 24,000-mile warranty, which extends to electrical repairs as well as the maintenance of steering, exhaust, and brake systems.
After emigrating from their native Russia, Ella and Dmitriy Aks began selling fine European furnishings out of their home. Before long, the two had worked their way toward their dream: opening Furnitalia, an Italian-furniture store all their own. After careful research, the couple connected with Excelsior Designs, a New York–based furniture importer with six product-specific factories throughout Italy. Ella—an experienced interior designer—admired the graceful, timeless qualities of Excelsior’s pieces, while Dmitriy—a master of engineering—was captivated by their exquisite craftsmanship and ability to form structurally-sound couch forts. Throughout Furnitalia’s show room, sleek, leather sofas and armchairs show off streamlined curves and simple, yet elegant structure that meshes with home-décor accents such as plush rugs and minimalist lamps.
At Casa Bella Galleria, Rhoda Santamaria and her business and life partner, Shane Curry, bustle about the spacious showroom. They're busy helping clients design and decorate their living rooms, offices, bedrooms, and kitchens with housewares from brands such as Moroni Leather, Ashley, Pulaski, and Sam Moore. The ever-changing lineup of décor and furniture spans a wide range of styles—stately leather couches and exquisite porcelain vases represent a classic look, and streamlined sectionals and glass tables add a futuristic, post-modern, post-post-ironically-retro touch. Throughout the showroom, professionally coordinated living, dining, and bedroom sets give visitors handy design ideas, while rugs, mattresses, lighting, and artwork accentuate and enhance bedframes, bare walls, and brand-new furniture sets.