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.
Four brothers from the Lodato family founded United House Wrecking in 1954. While taking apart old buildings piece by piece to make way for Interstate 95, the brothers salvaged one-of-a-kind accents, windows, and furnishings. Today, Mario and his brother Ross Lodato oversee the family business, helping customers brighten up their homes with an extensive, constantly updated collection of antiques and new furnishing, stained glass, and architectural accents. Homeowners can consult with UHW's in-house design team to fill new and renovated homes with luxurious antique furniture, decorative accessories or sturdy old-fashioned doors, posts, and railings.
Lawn Doctor's roots lead back to the mid 1960s, when friends Bob Magda and Tony Giordano took on the endeavor of reviving uncared-for lawns in their hometown of Matawan, New Jersey. Their local business has since blossomed into a national franchise with more than 500 locations across the United States, each adhering to the mission of enhancing lawns' allure with time-tested techniques, dedicated customer service, and dabs of foundation makeup.Before Lawn Doctor's assiduous staffers unleash expertise on swards, they arrive at the client's home for a complimentary consultation to gauge each lawn's specific needs. Grass gurus can thicken turf with their patented Turf Tamer power seeder and foster healthy growth for grass, trees, and shrubs with fertilizer. Uninvited lawn assailants—such as crickets, ants, and grazing neighbors—shudder at the sight of Lawn Doctor's pest-control experts. The company also helps to preserve Mother Nature's receding hairline with organic lawn treatments and natural, eco-friendly products.
For more than a century, Ring's End has put quality home improvement products in the hands of homeowners and contractors. A Stanley FatMax level ($30.99) ensures all paintings and ouija boards are hung correctly, and a gallon of Benjamin Moore Regal Classic paint ($40.19) creates a vibrant new hue on staid interior walls. Fiberon composite decking ($2.95+/ft.) helps to craft sturdy, colorful backyard-grilling platforms and arrives backed by a 20-year limited warranty. Handymen and women can keep tools easily accessible, organized, and ready to travel with a Veto Pro Pac tool bag ($144.99), which holds more than 100 hand tools and includes six zippered pockets to hide worksite snacks from Bob Vila.
Family owned and operated for three generations, Springdale Florist & Greenhouses couples flower bouquets with stuffed animals and gourmet nibbles. Present a beloved with the buds and Godiva chocolate of a Pink Rose Bouquet ($49.99), or outdo miniature candy hearts’ hesitant whispers with the thunderous frosted bellow of “Happy Valentines” on a 12-inch Mrs. Fields cookie ($44.99). A stuffed bear embraces a ceramic vase of purple lisianthus and limonium in a Big Hug Bouquet ($45–$65) while bamboo curls into heart shapes in a Be Still My Heart Valentine arrangement ($49.99). The plethora of Hershey, Snickers, and Butterfinger candy bars in a Chocolate Lover’s Dream Bouquet($44.99) can satisfy a family aquarium’s sweet-toothed barracuda.
Hands On Pottery equips artists with an assorted stockpile of unmarked pottery and food-safe paints so they can fill china cabinets and gift boxes with hand-decorated dishes. Feel free to pair up lonely flatware with plates of multiple sizes ($13–$19), give flowers a place to rest their laurels in a glazed vase ($13–$32), or let incontinent coffeepots drain into one of several styles of mug ($13–$17). Guests can also affix a refrigerator magnet ($3) to prop up reminders to close the refrigerator, or decorate a piggy bank as a reminder to save up to buy a real pig ($13).