Merinos Home Furnishings Warehouse lays out more than 500,000 square feet of expansive, sprawling showrooms full of home goods to decorate every room of the house. Lend a regal welcome mat to bedrooms with the round Persian-style rugs ($129) or reflect large beams of sunlight onto a nosy neighbor’s eyes thanks to the 30"x60" Creative Co-Op mirror ($169.99). Meanwhile, the Masterpiece golf accent table acts as a fine caddie for magazines, its surface buttressed by three putter and iron legs ($108).
Nestled between the mountains of North Carolina, the family owned and operated Blue Ridge Frasers helps families get firmly into the holiday spirit with their rows of Fraser firs. The crisp, cool climate serves as the perfect setting for Christmas trees to grow tall and develop their natural pine scent. Beyond their stock, the farm gets guests in the yuletide mood with colorful light displays, cups of hot chocolate, and smiling staffers on hand to help pick out the perfect tree.
Her name is Lisa Ryan, but everyone calls her Matty––an appropriate nickname considering she's the all-knowing force behind Matty's Mattress Warehouse. "I'm it!" she says with a proud laugh. "I move every one of the mattresses, talk to every person about their needs. Just me and a guy with a truck." She's a big fan of the more intimate service she can provide in her own store, especially after having managed huge retail chains. "I used to do furniture––always problems. Here, it's low overhead. Low hassle." And for Matty's customers, that also means lower cost. About 60% of Matty's business comes from referrals, so there's clearly something enchanting about her process. When asked what brings people in the doors—whether it's word of mouth or high-powered magnets—her response is quick. "What's not to love? You come in, get a new bed, you go home, and you sleep well." Her warehouse boasts a wide selection of mattresses ranging from Easy Sleep pillow-tops to orthopedic styles from Spring Air, but the pride of her showroom is the popular Bed Boss brand. These mattresses are forged from elastic memory foam that's infused with heat-dissipating, sustainable bamboo fibers, and they cost about one-third as much as similar mattresses from competing brands. Though Matty loves helping clients find a perfect mattress, the moments she cherishes the most are those when her mattresses become a game changer, when they really make a difference in a customer's life. "There was a guy who had back surgery," she explains. "He hadn't slept well in 18 months––been to the doc for insomnia. Sold him a mattress and he came back a week later. He was elated. It was really validating."
Father-and-son team Robert and Fred Lee worked as homebuilders for years before going into business selling lights in 1965, so they knew how quickly something impressive could rise from a humble foundation. Sure enough, Lee Lighting, their small family company, grew to include a vast online retail shop and one of the largest lighting dealers in Texas. They've even purchased Savoy, a company that designs fixtures to bring cheer to dining rooms and make rooms full of ventriloquist dummies less terrifying.
Lee Lighting stocks shelves with a diverse selection of indoor lamps from brands including ELK Lighting, Quoizel, and Hudson Valley. Staffers certified by the American Lighting Association move beneath the dazzling crystal sprays and faux candles of chandeliers. They suggest outdoor lighting to transform backyards into regal terraces. They also stay abreast of lighting trends to help patrons select lights that will stay in style.
The inventory at Davey Jones Fireworks Superstore helps patrons celebrate holidays all year round. During the summer, they'll focus on fireworks, for example. Just as its famous namesake once ruled the water, Davey Jones Fireworks Superstore helps customers seize control of another vast ocean, the night's sky. Evenings burst to life as artillery shells soar into the heavens and explode in patterns of brilliant color. Multishot displays launch firework after firework, leaving onlookers to marvel at a choreographed dance of light and sound. Not everything in Davey Jones' large stock of pyrotechnics flies towards Earth's ceiling, however. Sparklers, fountains, and smoke balls add character to celebrations right at ground level.