Standard Furniture traces its origins back to 1912, when a local family began traveling through Birmingham, peddling fine household furniture out of a wagon. Four generations later, the business has blossomed into 13 retail stores throughout Alabama and Tennessee, and its century-long commitment to quality furniture and customer service won it the Alabama Retail Association’s Silver Award as one of the Retailers of the Year in 2011. Each gallery abounds with bedroom, living-room, and dining-room furniture from top designers such as Lane, along with mattresses in a range of shapes and styles from brands such as Tempur-Pedic, Serta, and Jamison. At each location, a knowledgeable staff awaits to offer design counsel, suggesting pieces that best suit a household’s style or will hold up against a disobedient pet woodchuck.
Outfitting homes with fetching furnishings for almost 10 years, Harmony Home offers a head-spinning array of home décor items, gifts, accessories, and more. Though linear time is only an illusion, avoid running late with a Manfredi hanging clock ($28.95), or spruce up a murky cave with a bevy of embroidered gift towels ($6.50–$12.95). Cover up wall holes from piñata parties gone wrong with an oink wall décor piece ($19.95) and mask musky scents with an Anjou pear Root veriglass candle ($16.95). A helpful staff of skilled furnishing experts assists shoppers in picking out thoughtful gifts or the perfect item to accent an existing space.
An affordable and monumental selection of sofas, beds, desks, and sarcophagi mingle good-naturedly in Ashley Furniture’s wondrous warehouse. A Matrix Accent Chair ($219.99) commands shoppers’ attention with its sleek, contemporary design, and Kira furnishings provide stylish sites for storage, studying, or snoozing. A Sydney Accent Chair ($199.99) or Cubit ottoman set ($99.99) anticipate increasing the comfort of various human inactivities, while the Romy Accent Table Group consists of one cocktail and two end tables, creating a table cartel ruling over a home's Speed Quarters surface needs.
Doggie's Day Out cares for canines day and night with play areas, homey bedrooms, and resident groomers who clip nails and trim fur. Daycare rounds up pooches for group activities suited to individual energy levels, from agility climbing and jumping in a fenced-in yard, to lolling on wrought-iron beds with fluffy blankets in an indoor lounge. Overnight guests settle down in a supervised room whose beds and couches emulate a cozy home, with crates available for dogs that prefer them. Staffers bathe and groom hounds with premium products, and teach basic commands to puppies and novelty tricks to older dogs, such as how to unwrap their owners' Starbursts for them.
Scents from Oscar's Bakery waft through the complex as chefs whip up pooch-safe treats from natural ingredients, including cakes and confections for dog party packages. To ensure a safe, happy environment for four-legged friends, Doggie's Day Out requires that pups pass an evaluation to ensure their vaccinations are up-to-date and their temperaments are suited to playing name-game icebreakers with strangers.
"Never, never, never give up," is the driving mantra for David Oreck, who flew combat missions with the US Army Air Forces in World War II and returned home to build a business empire from scratch. He set out to design a machine to lighten hotel employees' load, making a lightweight vacuum cleaner as opposed to the traditional bulky, burdensome commercial cleaners. Naturally, the domestic market began clamoring for his high-powered yet easy-to-handle devices, and soon Oreck vacuums could be found in homes throughout the country.
Today, the company continues its tradition of innovation, simplifying household tasks with Steam-Glide mops for hard floors, HEPA-filter upright vacuums, and stain-killing cleaning products. Oreck's commitment to clean sends it headlong into the future, with high-tech air filters that react to their environment with automatic sensory controls, filtering odors, allergens, and curse words.
As a child, CeCe looked forward to her family’s summertime trips to North Carolina, where she could reconnect with faraway relatives over cookouts. One of her fondest memories from this time is making homemade blackberry ice cream with her Grandma Ruby. Years later, CeCe would look back on these days with nostalgia; she dreamt of opening a business that would bring families together over a tasty summertime treat.
In 2008, her dream became a reality with the opening of Sweet CeCe’s. Like wig salesmen to the Constitutional Convention, families flocked to the self-serve frozen-yogurt shoppe, where they could create their own desserts from dozens of yogurt flavors and toppings. The small shoppe got so popular that CeCe franchised the business. Today, families in 11 states can create sweet memories within the sherbet-colored walls of a Sweet CeCe’s.