The smell of chocolate, peanut butter, and caramel wafts down from the second floor of the Attrezzi store. A shop within a shop, Chocolate Chic sells chocolates and gourmet sweets, all handmade onsite. Decadent and memorable, the sweets put ordinary candy bars to shame, causing them to sneak back into the plastic wrappers from whence they came. Handmade peppermint patties, toffee, peanut-butter cups, and fudge showcase the versatility of cocoa, and chocolate-covered bacon and cave-aged cheese wrapped in dark chocolate combine savory and sweet flavors. In addition, a selection of locally made candies, including sea-salt caramels and taffy, rounds out the sugar-filled shelves.
Alan J. Gardner opened his Salem factory in 1933, winning over generations of loyal customers with custom-made and odd-sized mattresses in a wide range of styles. Massachusetts-made pallets support sleepers with hand tufted construction and fluffy cotton fillings catered specifically to each client's specifications. The company's direct manufacturer-to-customer supply chain erases the influence of bothersome middlemen or arrogant, cigar-chomping mattress barons. Sleepers select from a variety of comfy cushion styles, such as latex, plush top, tufted, or pocket coils, with options for all-natural materials such as Joma wool and layers of thick cotton-knit fabric.
Quick, quick, slow. Quick, quick, slow. It seems that every dance lesson starts the same way. Students are told, "These are the steps," "Move to the beat," and "Never breakdance on wet cement." But unwilling to settle for the minimum, Seacoast Ballroom helps dancers see beyond getting their feet to move in the right direction. Its founder, Frederick Dunn, strives to inject dancers with grace and musical expression to help them feel dance for what it is—an art form. Its classes range in difficulty from beginner to competition level, and cover a variety of ballroom styles. Solo dancers or couples can strut through a tango, shimmy their hips in salsa, or effuse elegance through the Viennese waltz.
The bolts of fabric that line the walls and end tables that display books, patterns, and finished pieces all contribute to the inspiring atmosphere at Sanford Sewing Machines. Behind the counter, craft gurus sell professional sewing machines and sergers from brands such as Bernina and Baby Lock, ensuring customers can quilt, embroider, and sew anatomical charts into pillowcases or tote bags at will. Sanford’s factory-certified technicians also brandish 25 years of tinkering expertise to repair all makes and models of commercial and home machines. Additionally, classes crop up regularly in specific craft concentrations such as the making of fleece socks, pillows, or purses.
For the past 30 years, Yankee Fireplace has outfitted homes with indoor and outdoor fireplaces, stoves, and grills, overseeing the installation process from the showroom to the first sanctioned spark. What began as a small retail location now encompasses two vast showrooms that share 50 functional fireplaces and stove displays between them. Here, customers can warm their hands in front of potential fireplaces or examine stoves for flame output. Both locations are authorized dealers of major brands such as Weber, LYNX, The Big Green, Jøtul, Heat & Glo, and Regency, and the technicians at Yankee Fireplace service everything they sell. Though fireplaces and grills are the business's main focus, they also bedeck patios with handsome furniture sets, umbrellas, and hammocks capable of supporting one or two people, or up to twelve outstretched garden gnomes.
Mahoney's Garden Center beckons green-thumbs and novices alike to its sprawling facilities, which burst with a plethora of plants, blooms, and gardening accoutrements. Although merchandise varies by store, shoppers may score finds such as a knock-out rose shrub ($29.98), zinnia perennials ($4.98) or an 8-inch hanging ivy ($16.98), complete with a Rhodes Scholar application. The 6-inch hibiscus ($12.98) lends its vibrantly hued blooms to front porches or a modest giant's windowsill. Perch deserving bouquets in the 12-inch embossed teal ceramic planter ($44.99) or display 10- and 11-inch hanging baskets ($12.50) that double as hideaways for spare doghouse keys. Customers can also narrow their searches for outdoor patio furniture at the Winchester and Falmouth locations.