In 1975, Jay Kogan's parents opened up a store that was literally a hall of frames—just a small store stacked with thousands of frames. At the time, they had no idea that that tiny corridor would expand to 12 locations throughout the greater Phoenix area, all still run by the Kogan family. Today, their shops have more than 4,500 custom frame options along with mats of all colors and textures, as well as seven glazing choices and expert assembly. They can answer framing questions and frame everything from documents and artwork to posters and small 3-D objects such as sports memorabilia and very still grandmothers.
When they custom-produce frames, the family cuts their mats exactly, miters frame corners precisely, and installs flawless glass. Or, since the stores' walls are lined with ready-made frames, customers can walk in and find what they're looking for quickly. Since installing framed art is an art unto itself, they also offer hanging services with an eye for placement and ability to install in difficult spaces.
With a light flick of the knob, a slow stream of balsamic vinegar flows from the spigot of a steel fusti at Outrageous Olive Oils and Vinegars. It’s the final step in a process that began 18 years ago in Modena, Italy, where vinegar makers crushed trebbiano grapes and sealed them in wood barrels—the technique necessary for vinegar to earn a classification as traditional balsamic. These meticulous standards extend to the rest of Outrageous Olive Oils and Vinegars’ elixirs. Owners John and Rayna recruit olive oil that has been cold-pressed, extracted without chemicals, and infused with all-natural flavors. Additionally, their expert staff are on hand to help customers navigate the shop’s selection of 35 olive oils and vinegars, pointing out each bottle’s country of origin, flavor notes, and messages written by castaways. They also draw on their own culinary expertise to suggest recipes and flavor pairings.
Lighting Unlimited is the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel for its clientele, with each of its four locations beaming with endless design possibilities born of a 5,000-strong stock of light bulbs and ballasts. A hefty catalog puts shoppers in easy reach of 50,000 more such accessories from more than 30 manufacturers, including Philips, Westinghouse, and Sylvania. Tasked with wrangling the multitude of fixtures, the staff of certified lighting specialists helps shoppers pinpoint specific bulbs and design lighting layouts for landscapes using underwater, directional, and putting-green fixtures. Complementing the luminescent selection, they feature an array of parts and accessories, including light sockets, colored gel sheets, and flashlights that have the power to make or break a shadow puppet's career with the flick of a switch.:m]]
For over 30 years, 3 Day Blinds' technicians have sift through samples and unreel measuring tapes during in-home consultations, custom-fitting abodes with blinds, shutters, and shades. They handcraft and cut treatments such as faux wood blinds, vertical blinds, and flexcell honeycomb blinds that reduce light and are energy efficient. As they tailor-make each order, the staffers dress windows of all shapes and sizes, from an arch above a doorway to a misshapen wormhole in the attic. All of 3 Day Blinds’ products come with a limited lifetime warranty. After clients have made a selection, the team shows up just two days later to install the new window dressings or let customers do it themselves.
Sew from the Heart beats with owner Susie's passion for textiles and fashion cultivated during her more than 40 years as a seamstress. Together with husband Hank, a retired Air Force fighter pilot who traded brawny planes for delicate needles, she shares her love with the public via a menu of classes ranging from embroidery and quilting to garment creation. The husband-and-wife team teaches students sewing-machine and software use, and frequently leads workshops such as how to turn T-shirts into quilts and how to turn quilts into T-shirts for giants. Their spacious store also houses a seemingly endless array of sewing products, stocking kits with threads and fabrics or outfitting workshops with machines, books, and software.
Countless repairs and home-remodeling projects can undoubtedly trace their lineage back to Paul's Ace Hardware, which began doling out DIY equipment and home-improvement supplies in 1956. Founded by Paul E. Dauwalder, the shop quickly expanded from its original 1,800-square-foot space, branching out to five shops that now operate beneath the expert eye of Paul's granddaughter. Cleaning products, outdoor equipment, and pool supplies are just a fragment of the stores' inventory, with power tools awaiting steady hands, fishing gear beckoning lake dwellers, and building materials—including the Tempe location's 56,000 square feet of lumber—standing poised and ready to be assembled into dams by handy beavers. Still in the city of its founding, the Scottsdale location has moved and upgraded to its own building.