According to the Dallas Morning News, sewing and handwork gave Laura Kay Houser's life "balance"—guiding the stay-at-home mother through life's daily challenges as well as more trying ones, namely her son's illness. In 2006, Houser and two partners turned that restorative hobby into a business venture. Houser now spends most of her days behind the counter, eyes figuratively glued on her latest project.
Inside the colorful shop, shelves overflow with fabrics by brands such as Andover, Benartex, and Marcus Brothers, as well as with books, kits, and experimental needlework patterns inspired by the paintings of Jackson Pollock. Experienced teachers pop in to lead a variety of classes, ranging from sewing basics to workshops with renowned authors and designers. As the culture of quilting has always involved gifting quilts to those in need, the store publicizes volunteer opportunities involving quilting and other crafts.
Staffers personally select the titles that line the shelves of a Real Bookstore's 20,000-square-foot facility. Each tome is carefully culled from a stock of new arrivals, featured debuts, and signed copies from guest writers. Author visits commence in the cozy event area, where the wordsmiths entertain attendees with presentations, question-and-answer sessions, and book signings where they increase their work's value without dipping the pages in gold. At Fierce Words & Stiff Drinks events, authors interact less formally with readers over wine, artisan beers, and cocktails inspired by their books.
Youngsters enjoy their own events in the 2,000-square-foot children's section. Tuesday- and Wednesday-morning story times enthrall preschoolers with tales, crafts, and snacks, and Friday-night PajamaRama story hours invite kids for a bedtime version of the same. The store’s Collage Bakery and Bar further caters to families with menu items made in-house, and adults can enjoy glasses of beer or wine at seating areas inside or outside the store.
SampleHouse & CandleShop’s shabby-chic interiors house a full bouquet of ornamental and scented candles, as well as an array of stylish and practical products such as handbags, ornaments, and soaps. Wide-eyed votive candles ($2.25–$3.75) tag along after sophisticated, glass- and metal-rimmed older siblings ($10–$55). Add flair to underground lairs with wax sticks from Trapp, Votivo, Archipelago, Orleans, Voluspa, and other brands, available in a variety of colors, shapes, and fragrances. Or opt for eye-catching jewelry ($5.95+) or initialed hand towels ($6.95+) to finally differentiate your towel from the family ghoul's.
Picture Bungalow immortalizes images onto sturdy wooden plates, creating long-lasting, charming conversation pieces out of senior portraits, engagement pictures, or family photos. Like a curse from a jilted dryad, the studio's image printing process enshrines loved ones directly into the wood?s grain, adding a rustic, sepia-toned quality to any image, with no two boards turning out exactly alike. Digital retouching from a photography professional sharpens and perfects picture quality, and a variety of finishes add personalized accents to future mantelpiece adornments.
Legendary athletes including Troy Aikman, Adrian Peterson, Steve Nash, and Johnny Bench have autographed Signature Collectibles’s collectibles in person, ensuring that the store brings authentic sports memorabilia to customers. The store also receives unique items from national sports-marketing companies, such as Upper Deck Authenticated, Steiner Sports, and Mounted Memories, bearing the signatures of contracted athletes including Tiger Woods, John Elway, and Joe Montana. In addition to showcasing these newly scribed items, Signature Collectibles can spruce up customers’ existing memorabilia inside their in-shop framing facility. They specialize in framing jerseys, during which they steam away wrinkles, sew the jersey onto an acid-free mat board with foam-core backing, and surround everything with a high-quality frame that magnetically repels fair-weather fans.
In 1965, Popular Mechanics ran a small classified ad for Brookstone, a new catalog company that packed its pages with functional products and detail-oriented descriptions. Brookstone quickly expanded to meet the high demand for its collection of ?hard-to-find tools,? and opened the door to its first retail location in 1973. Today, Brookstone?s more than 300 nationwide retail locations allow customers to test-drive its ever-growing lineup of interesting products, which range from Bluetooth-enabled massage chairs to power adapters designed for international travelers and their electronic passports. Staying true to its roots as a catalog company, Brookstone houses an even larger selection of products, each waiting patiently to be shipped, on its website.