It all started with a deflated basketball. Though longtime friends Mike Kennedy and Eric Martin scoured downtown Boston for an inflating needle to fill it, no shops in the area carried one. They were frustrated—and they realized that other Bostonians looking for athletic gear were likely frustrated too. So in 1983, they opened City Sports, a shop stocked with all the footwear, athletic apparel, and sports equipment that the metropolis had been missing.
Nearly three decades later, Mike and Eric's neighborhood business has expanded to 20 shops across the East Coast. In addition to stocking popular brands such as Vibram, The North Face, and Patagonia, the store engineers its own CS by City Sports line. Shoppers include yogis, cyclists, and tennis players—anyone seeking to outfit active lifestyles, whether they're playing a team sport or braving the hike up the world's largest gumdrop. In addition to footwear and apparel, the staff stocks fitness equipment such as kettlebells, lifting gloves, and dumbbells.
The brand American Apparel, which recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, conjures up images of stylish and well-fitting fashion basics. It also likely brings to mind sassy advertisements featuring long-haired beauties in natural makeup posing in skin-bearing bodysuits and loungewear.
But what many don't know about the brand?despite its name and the slice of apple pie that comes with every purchase?is that all of its clothes are made in America. Everything from sewing and cutting to accounting and marketing happens in one building in downtown Los Angeles, and the rest occurs within a 30-mile radius. Not only that, every slim-fitting pair of pants, spandex bodysuit, and v-neck T-shirt is made in a sweatshop-free environment.
Plus, keeping everything in house means the company eliminates unnecessary and wasteful factors, such as shipping fuel and packing materials, as well as provides jobs to Angelenos, instead of outsourcing them.
What began as a small operation out of founder Jennifer Velarde’s studio apartment is now a celebrated handbag business with three stores in two cities, an online boutique, and a slew of media accolades from magazines such as InStyle, Good Housekeeping, and Real Simple. The business owes its proliferation to Velarde’s touted lineup of custom-designed shoulder bags, bridal clutches, and totes. The creative trendsetter also provides her customers with a bevy of fabric swatches and styles so they can create their own designs during in-store or at-home handbag parties.
Boston CityWalks’ owner, Alan Maltzman, loves to show his passion and knowledge for his city. At Boston CityWalks, he and his coterie of guides lead six different tours that roam the city’s historic cobblestones, highlighting areas such as Harvard Square, the waterfront, Beacon Hill, and various Jewish cultural sites. He can also design a custom tour for any occasion such as family vacations, engagements, birthdays, reunions, and business meetings.
Discerning shoppers head to Copley Place when they’re looking for upscale goods, like jewelry from Tiffany & Co. and clothing from Barneys. But for shoe lovers, there’s only one place to go: Jimmy Choo. The small boutique outpost of this internationally renowned retailer is a gleaming beacon of success and fashion in the Copley Place luxury shopping area, complete with gleaming chandeliers, discreet seating areas and perfectly lit display cases. Inside are the expensive accoutrements of any truly wealthy woman, from signature shoes to high-end sunglasses and designer handbags. Celebrities may have made the brand a household name, but the attentive staff makes sure every shopper feels as if they’re red-carpet worthy. With the name recognition, the design aesthetic and the upscale Copley Place location, it’s no wonder Jimmy Choo retails their shoes at $500 or more.
L.A.-based hipster brand American Apparel is not for the faint of taste. Depending on the season you can find barely there gold bathing suits or a skirt that looks like it was made out of a space-age fabric. The selection of gloves, scarves and T-shirts in a groovy array of colors are the first thing that greets shoppers at this trendy Newbury Street clothing store. Splashes of color and texture in the form of skirts, sweaters and pants are complemented by accessories such as nail polish, umbrellas and backpacks. Small and extra small sizes are plentiful here, which can be frustrating for folks sized M or L. Don't forget to check out the fun lingerie department in the back of the store. American Apparel is sweatshop free, supports fair trade wages, and everything in the store in made in the USA.