The smell of chocolate, peanut butter, and caramel wafts down from the second floor of the Attrezzi store. A shop within a shop, Chocolate Chic sells chocolates and gourmet sweets, all handmade onsite. Decadent and memorable, the sweets put ordinary candy bars to shame, causing them to sneak back into the plastic wrappers from whence they came. Handmade peppermint patties, toffee, peanut-butter cups, and fudge showcase the versatility of cocoa, and chocolate-covered bacon and cave-aged cheese wrapped in dark chocolate combine savory and sweet flavors. In addition, a selection of locally made candies, including sea-salt caramels and taffy, rounds out the sugar-filled shelves.
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.
Christina Eadie, master of glass, has worked with the medium for more than 30 years. Accents In Glass serves as a supplier, a gallery, and also a classroom, where glass artists can stock up on materials or improve their skills. Courses are available in glass fusing and stained glass, where students of all skill levels can craft beautiful, panels, bowls, and little glass candies to teach food thieves a lesson.
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.
At Pick & Paint Pottery Shop, studio-goers can colorize raw ceramic forms with more than 70 kaleidoscopic paints and glazes. Pick & Paint Pottery stocks an eclectic array of bisques, ranging from simple mugs and plates to intricately designed vases ($1+). With brushes, glazes, stamps, sponges, stencils, and stickers at their disposal, customers creatively customize their ceramics, whether they want to adorn their pet bowls with canine imagery or paint Mike Ditka's scowling face onto teapots. The resident kiln operator then fires each piece, which can typically be picked up about a week later.
For more than half a century, Mill Stores has dispensed an enormous array of high quality, ready-to-finish wood furniture and accents to enhance homestead comfort. As a factory-finished solid-oak rocker ($249.99) supports reclining spines, a three-step stool ($19.77), crafted from solid eastern white pine, aids customers in accessing difficult to reach shelves filled with stashes of candy and bacon fat. Stockpile bottles of grapey goodness in a solid wood Tuscany wine box ($39.99) or artfully arrange CDs and DVDs in the sliding separators of a solid pine rack ($23.99). A shingled-roof doghouse ($179.99) shelters canines in safe, cozy pine, and a cast-stone scroll birdbath ($49.88) cleanses neighboring loons and fallen airplane peanuts in its stylish cement surface. Shoppers unable to find their desired décor in stock can request customized designs, which Mill Stores crafts in two weeks or less.