The fruit florists at Edible Arrangements inspect each piece of preservative-free produce for freshness before stamping it with a chocolaty seal of approval and finding it a cozy home in a customizable box. Mix and match scrumptious strawberries, granny smith wedges, piquant pineapple daisies, and other chocolate-varnished delights to design a box of 12 just right for thanking a business partner or showing your bedside mini fridge that you care. On a holiday or any day, an Edible Arrangement can turn a frown into an upright orange wedge, a tear into a three-tiered citrus structure, and a friend into still just a friend, but one with a sweet, balanced diet.
Gallery Lafayette offers customized-framing treatments and original prints, watercolors, and gifts. Using special conservation glass and acid-free mat boards, skilled frame-ologists protect prized photographs and collectibles from the damaging effects of light, humidity, acidity, and Father Time's righteous fists for unblemished wall hanging. The average custom-framing order is around $180—combine two Groupons and frame your favorite oversized obedience-school diploma or Ken Burns–autographed placemat. Inside the gallery, customers will find an assortment of gifts featuring pen-and-ink illustrations of classic Old Town landmarks such as Captain's Row and Gadsby's Tavern. Images are magically transferred onto tote bags ($30), tea towels ($15.95), and more. Snag a set of eight note cards ($12.95) to start a one-man letter-writing campaign to rename the Route 1 IHOP to the William Howard Taft Memorial House of Pancakes.
Recognizing that intellectual enrichment isn't just a childhood necessity, Books for America aims to spread literacy and a love of reading not only to kids but also to nearly every disadvantaged population in the National Capital Region. The organization puts media such as classic literature, children’s books, nonfiction tomes, and audiobooks in the hands of underserved individuals, chipping away at illiteracy and educational inequality as major impediments to success. Each donation—from new textbooks to used laptops—is put to good use, whether within literacy programs for youth or adults or in the libraries of inner-city or rural schools, homeless shelters, hospices, and prisons. Besides being given to organizations that serve the community, books, movies, and other materials are sold at low prices through Books for America's "bookstore with a purpose" in Dupont Circle. All of the proceeds from these sales support the nonprofit's operations, so it doesn't have to rely solely on grants. As they discover a new source of entertainment or learning, customers help support the expansion of collection and distribution efforts.
More than 400,000 monthly readers flip through the pages of The Washingtonian, spending an average of 96 minutes on every issue, gleaning helpful dining tips and doctor recommendations, as well as information about local politics, business, and culture. Regular features list and review restaurants and doctors, giving readers valuable insight into area institutions, as opposed to a list of DC’s tallest presidential monuments, which offers people no new information. Online blogs such as Capital Comment and Dead Drop educate readers on national politics and foreign policy, and style and nightlife sections help deal hunters zero in on shopping and happy hour opportunities.
A DC mainstay since 1936, Reiter’s Books furnishes lovers of the written word with reading material destined to whet their academic appetites. Tomes related to a vast number of fields can be found occupying the shop’s shelves, spanning areas of interest from math and economics to design and politics. The shop even gets brain gears spinning early with thinking puzzles and games beloved by children and exhausted substitute teachers of all ages. Elsewhere in the shop, the members of the medical community can stock up on needed supplies, including Littmann Stethoscopes and Welch Allyn Diagnostic Sets.
For 50 years, the owners and staffers of Plaza Artist Materials & Picture Framing have encouraged the artists of their community. They visit local fairs and set up booths for kids to color and craft, and they do workshops, demos, and classes for artists of every age. As their name implies, they also outfit art makers of all skill levels with top-of-the-line materials, such as Gamblin oil paints, Prismacolor pens and markers, and custom frames perfect for saving favorite art pieces or memorializing a sibling's failure to color within the lines.