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Local businesses like this one promote thriving, distinctive communities by offering a rich array of goods and services to locals like you
After spending years as a salesman for top mattress lines, Steve Shore needed a new mattress himself. Rather than opt for a steep employee discount on one of the mattresses he sold, the enterprising Mr. Shore collected various natural materials and had them assembled into a mattress that met his exacting specifications: a comfy sleep cushion made with no potentially toxic components. The result was such an improvement over the big-name mattresses he sold that Mr. Shore and his son eventually decided to produce a line of organic mattresses based on the prototype, on which Mr. Shore slept soundly for more than a decade.
Now, the Shore men sell their mattresses under the Eco-Cloud name in The Natural Mattress Store. Made from high-quality steel coils topped with natural latex, Eco-Cloud mattresses resist accumulating allergens and nightmare blueprints and retain their shape and support for years. Organic wool and cotton covers help keep sleepers cool and snug in bed by deflecting body heat and wicking away moisture. Each Eco-Cloud mattress comes with a 12-year, nonprorated warranty. In addition to the Eco-Cloud line, The Natural Mattress Store carries more than 20 organic mattresses, as well as eco-friendly, solid wood bedroom furniture from Pacific Rim Woodworking, Bedworks of Maine, and Vermont Furniture Designs.
Someone walking up to Cole Hardware for the first time might think they've stumbled upon a modern art gallery instead of a hardware store. Their front window displays everything from Pollock-esque paintings in gilded frames to chandeliers built from Christmas ornaments to a fine-dining table setting re-created with only tools. In fact, all of the eye-catching installations are created using exclusively Cole Hardware merchandise.
But the displays are also a testament to how the shop has set itself apart in other ways?for nearly 100 years, Cole Hardware has been known for exceptional customer service. What started out as a one-man operation with the motto, "There are no strangers here, only friends we haven't met yet," has grown to a family of stores that also provides home repair services and commercial supplies. Their retail inventory is expansive and competitively priced thanks to backing from Ace Hardware, which has helped the company garner awards from SF Weekly and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
In 1976, two UC Davis graduate students bought 20 acres of land in the highly arable Capay Valley. One of the students, Kathleen Barsotti, was working toward her master's degree in ecology and was determined to grow vegetables and fruits in an eco-friendly way: organically. The organic-food movement hadn't yet entered the public consciousness, and Kathleen worked overtime to convince restaurants, stores, and consumers of the taste-able merits of her process. Over time, given the possible health and environmental benefits of certified organic food, she succeeded. The farm sprouted to 300 acres to accommodate the increased demand. Today, a second generation runs the farm as well as a shop inside San Francisco's Ferry Building. Dubbed Farm Fresh To You, the store furnishes customers' bags or portable cornucopia horns with all sorts of soil-sprouted goods, including heirloom tomatoes, sweet peas, and fresh asparagus. The farm also teams up with fellow Yolo County and Pacific Northwest farms to deliver boxes of seasonal produce to area homes.
Porcelanosa’s journey from mom-and-pop design firm to world leader in kitchen and bathware began in 1970 on the Mediterranean coast of Castellon, Spain. Today, the company’s founding family oversees more than 400 showrooms in 70 different countries, exporting the latest in European home design to the rest of the world. Its minimalist, modern designs play on clean lines and muted colors, incorporating elegant accents such natural stone bathtubs or rectified porcelain tile, which mimics the Carrara marble used to build the Pantheon, sculpt Michelangelo's David, and construct the world's first paperweight. Its engineered hardwood flooring draws eyes to smooth planks of white oak in a spectrum of stains, vying for attention against tiled mosaics made of stone, ceramic, or brick.
In addition to turning kitchens and bathrooms into walk-in works of art, Porcelanosa adheres to its founding principles of care for the environment and reducing ecological impact throughout its production chain, using water recycling and gas-burning technologies at its plants to reduce its carbon footprint.
Food & Wine magazine has drawn editor-in-chief Dana Cowin's expertise of all things edible for 17 years. The monthly publication introduces readers to unique ingredients and up-and-coming chefs, as well as home-entertainment tips and wine-pairing advice. Restaurant reviews suggest new eateries to try when you don't want to dirty your dishes or attempt to pronounce “worcestershire sauce,” and articles about international food provide constant culinary inspiration.
"Travel + Leisure is a celebration of travel," says editor-in-chief Nancy Novogrod. Browsing the magazine's table of contents reveals the truth of this statement; an affection for the road shines through in articles about domestic and international destinations, tech tips for sightseers, and glossy photos of stunning locales. Writers bring to life seasonal festivities around the world and weigh in on the best hotels, resorts, and wax museums with unobservant guards. Themes covered include adventure vacations, eco-travel, and kid-friendly trips.
For more than two decades, the husband-and-wife team behind Jane’s Roses, Flowers and Events has equipped patrons with decorative arrangements for wedding days, formal occasions, and everyday happenings. The two weave together elegant blooms with complementary leaves, ferns, and wispy foliage, crafting beautiful bouquets and artfully filled vases for loved ones. They also design custom arrangements for special occasions, bedecking halls with freshly plucked blossoms laid into aisle-lining strands or arranged into stylish centerpieces.
Should flowers not suit someone’s tastes, the shop loads fruit, snacks, and chocolate into homey wicker gift baskets, which can be picked up or delivered straight to recipients’ doors. Each delivery comes with additional add-ons such as mylar balloons, Ferrero Rocher chocolates, and a photo confirmation, which lets senders experience first-hand the surprise, joy, or leftover milk mustaches on recipients’ faces.
With a faction of former law-enforcement agents and licensed private investigators at the helm, International Spy Shop stands as a mecca to surveillance and security with its arsenal of custom equipment and investigative services. Clients can detect and eliminate bugs and hidden cameras with the staff's professional advice and the equipment brimming from the shop's shelves and display cases. If home surveillance is what a customer needs, the staff can equip them with digital recorders and nanny cams. The shop also performs High Tech Electronic Harassment Countermeasures, which include detection and shielding from microwave weaponry. An airsoft shooting range allows clients to practice their marksmanship and compete with friends, and younger private eyes can practice their secret-agent skills with tricks, toys, and spy gear.
Recently profiled by The Atlantic for its members' innovative inventions, TechShop’s supportive community of inventors, artists, technicians, and alchemists share their excitement about the next big idea in an environment limited only by their collective imagination. The 17,000-square-foot smorgasbord of inventive creativity beckons people of all skill levels to its DIY confines, where members can wield tools not found in most private workshops, slicing through steel with a plasma cutter or accessing 3-D design software to finally realize the goal of crawling inside the Internet. Hands-on classes jump-start creative juices, introducing students to vocational skills including welding, soldering, and woodworking. Neophyte inventors aged 12–17 are welcome but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to ensure they don't break physics.
Within a 17th-floor penthouse, Spa J'Adore's wide windows allow rays of sunlight to illuminate Buddha photos, exposed-brick walls, and brilliant orchids. Their décor, a combination of urban chic and zen sensibilities, reflects the massage practice's dual focus on Western and Eastern traditions. To that end, massage therapists are equally adept at deep-tissue and Swedish treatments as modalities from Thailand and Japan. The staff also paints on tans with brushes instead of sprays during body-bronzing sessions, which create a smoother, more natural appearance. After their treatments, clients can lounge on the spa's balcony, sipping herbal tea from heavy clay cups and relaying semaphore messages to hikers on distant mountains.
Every day, San Francisco Soup Company’s chefs craft crunchy salads and approximately 12 soups from scratch, keeping an eye on sustainability and seasonality. Both salads and soups showcase organic and locally sourced ingredients such as cage-free eggs from Glaum Egg Ranch and organic milk from Clover Stornetta, and soups cast tendrils of steam from biodegradable containers. San Francisco Soup Company’s commitment to conscious dining extends to the nutritional realms: each recipe comes with nutrition stats, and the menu even designates which soups are gluten-, meat- and dairy-free, and which soup spoons best shield noses from affectionate pinches.
Even before you climb inside, the GoCar is clearly a car with a personality. The petite, three-wheeled two-seater has a hood that slightly resembles an eager-to-please smiley face, and an open top that seems custom-made for letting the breeze ruffle your hair. Then the real fun begins: built with the company's own software and a compassion for the voiceless robots of America, a talking GPS system guides two-seater GoCars through the city streets of San Francisco, San Diego, Miami, Barcelona, Madrid, and Lisbon with cheerful, info-rich narration. Second only to having a knowledgeable local jog alongside your minivan, tours zip along at drivers' own pace and accommodate as many pit stops as time allows.
Park 77 hydrates palates with drink specials and entertains patrons with beer-pong courts, arcade games, and billiards tables. The neighborhood sports bar boasts an outdoor patio and beer garden, where guests can mingle and wildlife can catch up on favorite sporting events playing on a jumbo, outdoor TV. Inside, pub fare circles the crowds, light emanating from flat-screen TVs flickers across cartoon pinup girls on pale yellow walls, and a long, wood-paneled bar pours draft selections including Guinness, Fat Tire, and Stella Artois. Within the expansive interior, heated games of pinball and skeeball set the backdrop for themed gatherings, such as College Fridays.
With more than 30 years in the furniture industry, Jonathan Kaye's staff expertly curates the best brand-name furnishings, bedding, and décor for infants and children. Specializing in furniture built from ash, birch, maple, and pine, the shop presents parents with a variety of all-natural sitting, storing, and sleeping fixtures to match with existing décor or the species of tree native to their nurseries. Beyond hard goods, Jonathan Kaye outfits shoppers with blankets and clothing woven from natural sources such as organic cotton and bamboo.
The friendly family of florists at Abigail’s Flowers doles out festive foliage for any occasion. From proms and weddings to "get wells" and birthdays, Abigail’s arranges bouquets primed to please recipients and proximal bumblebees. Arrangements are organized by price range, and all showcase bright flora such as roses, sunflowers, white lilies, and blue hydrangea. Abigail’s also offers specialty services such as gifts, plants, dried floral arrangements, and local delivery.
Standard Plumbing Ace Hardware facilitates home-improvement projects and everyday repairs with an array of wares and a staff of knowledgeable handypeople. Embattled emperors can secure their castles by installing sturdy door locks ($9.99+), impede enemy avian messengers’ flight paths with window screens ($8.99+), or create a dry moat of venus flytraps with garden tools ($3.99+). New showerheads ($9.99+) can improve bathing enjoyment and relax vocal cords for water-accompanied arias, and smoke alarms ($8.99+) prevent disaster when dining-room campfires get too rowdy. With more than 50,000 items also available for special order, Standard Plumbing Ace Hardware can equip utility belts with all the supplies needed to tighten up a squeaky home or install a toilet in the living room.