Before Comfort One Shoes' sole experts are allowed to fit a single shoe to a customer's foot, they must graduate from Comfort One University and undergo a mentorship process. It's only then that they can help shoppers find their desired footwear, whether it be lace-up Ziera boots, On running shoes with CloudTec technology, or Thierry Rabotin shoes, handmade without uncomfortable, rigid components. Alongside men's and women's footwear, the shop stocks an assortment of bags and accessories such as colorful iPhone cases from Triple C Designs that protect phone exteriors and conceal scratches from the last time you transformed into a werewolf.
Comfort One Shoes also seeks to better the world through creative philanthropic efforts, such as collecting 25,000 shoes for those without and offering their employees half their pay and time off to volunteer in the community. Perhaps such initiatives are part of the reason Comfort One Shoes earned the National Shoe Retailers Association’s Retailer of the Year Award in 2011.
The readers of Washingtonian magazine voted the family-owned Princess Jewelers "Best Jewelry Store" in 2008, winning the company well-deserved notice for the careful, custom craftsmanship of its talented, certified jewelers. Two elegant showrooms display engagement and wedding rings set with diamonds or semiprecious stones, as well as earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and cufflinks that make a glittery gift for significant others or surprised trick-or-treaters. The company imports a large inventory of loose gemstones and diamonds, which may be fashioned into original designs or replicas of pieces in photographs, and jewelers can also restore damaged pieces to their previous beauty and wearability. On-site graduates of the Gemological Institute of America are capable of identifying legitimate gemstones by scent alone, using their bling-based expertise to appraise customers' new and antique jewelry and assist them through each step in the selection of a quality showpiece.
At Eyeland Eyecare Center and Luxoptics, friendly optical experts sharpen fields of vision and protect precious eye parts with thorough examinations and an arsenal of contacts, sunglasses, and traditional frames. Frames from labels such as Prada and Burberry add a touch of stylish class to pupils, and the store’s sophisticated software precalculates benefits from nearly all available insurance plans. After working alongside his brother at Eyeland for more than three decades, Robert Bojarski founded Luxoptics, a newly christened sister store built around the concept of outfitting clientele with modern, high-end eyewear and making the monocle popular again. Frames from Bulgari and Ray Ban grace faces with fresh designs, and selections from Persol complement patients’ heads with styles that blend old and new. Luxoptic’s sunny, high-ceilinged studio welcomes visitors with pristine white decor, and the in-house lab grinds lenses to computer-calculated specifications.
In 1986, Nancy Criswell set up her full-service bead store on the second floor of the historic Olney House in Olney, Maryland. At the time, she had little idea that the niche craft would soon explode in popularity, but after the meteoric growth of beading and the increasing number of local businesses willing to accept shiny baubles as payment, Criswell was able to expand her business to its present location—a 9,000-square-foot showroom in Rockville stuffed with over 18,000 different varieties of beads. There, the walls glisten with corrugated and smooth 14-karat gold spheroids, beads of sterling silver, and plenty of wire, findings, tools, and pliers to string them all together. Regular classes from nationally recognized teachers such as Stephanie Everett and Jessie Stern help students turn their hobby into an art form with instruction in topics ranging from chain mail and bead stitching to wirework.
The friendly staffers at iFurnish's family-owned showroom outfit abodes with name-brand wood, leather, and upholstered furniture. Contemporary and classic sofas join ottomans to fill living rooms, and dining rooms host tables sturdy enough to handle Thanksgiving's traditional anvil-eating contests. Several plush and memory-foam mattresses provide solid support for sleeping or jumping, and a wide array of home accessories, from lamps to wool rugs, decorates any room. Color whippersnappers’ chambers with kids' furniture such as bunk beds, desks, and dressers that easily conceal escape tunnels leading to the pantry.
Short of creating physical clouds to hold people aloft, Mattress Warehouse stocks almost every imaginable furnishing to help customers catch a few Z’s. Rows of name-brand mattresses from Sealy, Simmons Beautyrest, Serta, and Tempur-Pedic entice customers to replace their worn pad for new bedding, such as a standard mattress, a fluffy pillowtop unit, or a memory foam piece that conforms to bodies. Beyond mattresses, the warehouse also carries an ample collection of box springs, full bed sets with rails and headboards, and even premium futon mattresses that revitalize foldable couches.