Since 1965, the family-run Ski Haus has kept customers coming back by adhering to the family motto: “Make sure we keep a fun environment and give everybody a fair deal. They get a ton of stuff for their money and we stay in business for a long time." Patrons can still expect the same low prices and see the same friendly staffers’ faces year after year while shopping for winter gear.
Racks stocked with apparel by brands such as The North Face and Marmot, skis and snowboards by brands such as Atomic and K2, and a team of skilled technicians have earned Ski Haus accolades from Ski magazine, SnowSports Industries America, and New England Winter Sports Representatives, Inc. During tune-ups, technicians polish skis, stone-grind ski edges, apply hot wax, and repair bases damaged by treacherous slopes and sharp snowman noses.
Experienced framers Barry Stahl and Bob Clayton built Big Picture Framing from scratch in 2000, holding meetings around an old card table as construction roared around them. Today, framers at 15 area locations craft custom frames to display artwork, photographs, and record sleeves, and shadow boxes protect three-dimensional items such as ballet slippers, macaroni art, or a swarm of wasps. Patrons can dictate all design choices, choosing from metal and wooden frames in a multitude of colors and styles, or ask for recommendations from one of Big Picture Framing's resident experts. Big Picture Framing also stocks pre-framed art, prints, and posters to spruce up bare-walled homes or a drab doghouse.
After devoting years to protecting precious pictures and keepsakes from environmental harm, the Middlesex Framing crew has amassed an inventory of highly protective materials. Acid-free matting keeps photographs and certificates from deteriorating over time, UV-protection glass guards against sunlight’s discoloring rays, and museum glass deters bandits who somehow made it across the living room’s laser alarm grid. Partnering with Larson-Juhl, the crew is able to access more than 1,500 molding samples and matting combinations—ensuring that each piece is both protected and enhanced by its border.
Designer Bath and Salem Plumbing Supply, which Northshore Magazine editors and readers voted as the best bath supplies store in the North Shore area, equips homeowners with a vast assortment of kitchen and bathroom furnishings from dozens of brands, including Dornbracht, Duravit, and Fairmont. Contemporary designs and classic models dot a 4,500-square-foot showroom, where a knowledgeable staff helps customers select the polished chrome towel bar ($34) or two-robe bathroom hook ($15) that best matches their lucky hubcap. An American Standard single-lever kitchen faucet expels water through a sprayer ($75), and a Grohe showerhead unleashes jets of moisture from a 6-inch-wide chrome disk ($63). Two levels of magnification power on a double-sided Kimball & Young vanity makeup mirror ($107) provide an up-close view for poring over pores or communicating face-to-face with the tiny pilots in your eyeballs. Designer Bath and Salem Plumbing Supply does not provide installation.
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.
Offering stylish, high-quality home furnishings and custom creations, Ethan Allen has been gussying up lackluster living spaces for more than 70 years. Saunter through the showroom or work with one of the interior-design pros to choose the right look for your abode. The Hyde loveseat, available in an array of fabrics ($1,699), is a comfy two-cushioner for dastardly duos or doctors with split personalities. Make an anachronistic statement by stacking a sleek, modern American Artisan SmartWall ($3,734) with 8-tracks and kinescope films, or downsize and try the Maison square accent table ($219). The accessories area is stocked with light-emitting devices, such as the contempo table lamp ($84), as well as worthy components for pillow-igloo projects. For hands-free shopping, free shipping is available for certain items and local delivery is available if you live within a 50-mile radius of the store.