Atlantic Bedding and Furniture showrooms speckle the Southeast, each one a treasure-trove of fine furniture and top-brand mattresses. Attentive staffers bustle past collections of leather couches and arrangements of dark-wood dining sets, eager to assist customers in their quest to find a memory-foam mattress that best suits their sleeping habits or a rug that best covers up the dungeon trapdoor in their living room. If an item is out of stock, the attendants can have it shipped directly from the company's central warehouse—a cavernous storeroom packed with furniture from top vendors like Coaster, Sealy, and Lifestyle Solutions. Much of the furniture is available online, enabling customers to shop from the comfort of home.
As leaf-quitting season approaches, now is the ideal time to shift home-care gears from outside to inside. Pick up a Stanley six-piece screwdriver set for $6.99; a VPT rip hammer for $6.29; and a whole bunch of screws, anchors, and bolts (prices vary), and you'll be ready to finally mount every buffalo nickel and steel penny in your coin collection. Illuminate the newfound décor with a 12-pack of Ace 3-way soft white light bulbs ($21.48), the better to see by as you make use of a Purdy four-piece premium paint-tray kit ($19.99). If you need to match paint to a favorite coverlet or choose a hue that complements a pleather recliner, each store offers a paint-matching service free of charge. Get keys made for $2 a pop, or clean a barnacle-encrusted carpet with the help of a carpet-cleaning machine ($25–$27 a day to rent).
Students at The Rock MMA & Fitness Center get the chance to learn from and train with an undefeated professional boxer, a 10-year jujitsu veteran, and a professional mixed-martial-arts fighter. All accolades just happen to belong to one man, Coach Matt. Joined by wrestling veteran Coach Brian and a team of qualified instructors, Matt teaches a full week of martial-arts classes, such as kickboxing, jujitsu, boxing, and mixed martial arts. He rounds out the schedule with conditioning and fitness-focused training, including a boot camp and hours set aside for open use of any of the gym's equipment.
Sweep brushing across three-dimensional clay canvases, artists at Bella Pottery Painting Studio work at their own pace to complete pieces while sipping on brought-along drinks?since the studio is BYOB. After picking a piece from the stocked shelves?including plates and mugs?artists add decorations and designs. All supplies are included, and crafty patrons can pick the brains of the studio's attentive staff, who are close at hand to give guidance and encouragement. About a week after visiting, artisans can pick up their completed projects, which are glazed, fired, and food-safe upon pickup.
Mattress Source's knowledgeable staff pairs customers with one of a wide selection of firm and flexible beds that augment deeper slumbers. Sealy luxury firm mattresses ($449.99+) allays stressful nights by supplying supple support, manufacturers' warranties, and a cache of warm kittens to rest at the end of each bed. Silk woven jersey knit surrounds a layer of memory foam on the Stearns & Foster x-firm mattress, which gently pillows joint pain and absorbs excess body heat ($1,219.99+). At 26 Charlotte-area showrooms, shoppers can take inventory of each mattress' aptitude in hypnosis or chat with affable staff members about desired levels of firmness.
Winner of the 2010 ENERGY STAR Award for Sustained Excellence, Lowe's has been helping customers conserve energy and expletives with home improvement, gardening, and hardware solutions for every budget. With the store's friendly handypeople as their guide, nail-pounding novices and seasoned remodelers alike can outfit their toolbox for any undertaking with more than 6,000 products between $25 and $50. Impress spouses and annoy car-pooling coworkers by ably installing ceiling fans into your car roof. Add lighting fixtures to darkling domiciles, or finally finish your back yard's Super Mario Bros. level with Lowe's garden tools. The store can also mix together a rainbow of hues for painting projects involving dining rooms, nurseries, and sweat lodges. Afterwards, you can clean up the dust with a 6-Gallon HP Wet/dry Shop Vac ($44.97), or rinse off caulk-covered corpuses under the Moen Brushed Nickel 7 Spray Pattern Shower Massager ($49.98). Regardless of your mission, the accommodating staff at Lowe's will offer expert advice for completing your home's improvements.