Experienced framers Barry Stahl and Bob Clayton built Big Picture Framing from scratch in 2000, holding meetings around an old card table as construction roared around them. Today, framers at 15 area locations craft custom frames to display artwork, photographs, and record sleeves, and shadow boxes protect three-dimensional items such as ballet slippers, macaroni art, or a swarm of wasps. Patrons can dictate all design choices, choosing from metal and wooden frames in a multitude of colors and styles, or ask for recommendations from one of Big Picture Framing's resident experts. Big Picture Framing also stocks pre-framed art, prints, and posters to spruce up bare-walled homes or a drab doghouse.
One of the East Coast's best-known Members-only wholesale retailers, BJ's serves more than six million Members in more than 200 clubs as far west as Ohio. Within these sprawling locations, BJ's helps provide more selections to savvy shoppers looking to knock out most of their errands in a single stop. In the same visit, Members can stock up on economy-sized groceries?including USDA choice meats, farm-fresh produce, and everyday essentials?grab name-brand electronics, and even plan a vacation through BJ's Travel. Each service makes up a single part of BJ's well-rounded retail experience, but simplifying shopping isn't BJ's only goal; in 2012 alone, the company donated more than $2.2 million to charitable organizations.
The charming window displays of Sweet Thoughts draw customers into the cozy gift shop, which stocks a wide variety of items, from housewares to chocolates. Stock up on jars of handmade French mustards, pasta and pesto from Tuscany, pickled beets from a New Hampshire farm, or smoked sea salt from the coast of Maine, or mix and match items into a gourmet gift basket. The store is an ideal stop before a housewarming party, since visitors will find wines, serving accessories, glassware, home-grown art, craft beer, and gourmet gifts.
A crystal centerpiece. A rustic ladderback chair. One really handsome candlestick. Finding the final touch for a nearly finished room designed usually reminds people of the worst parts of needles and haystacks. Fortunately, that's the whole reason the shopkeepers at Hideaway Boutique come to work in the mornings. These design professionals fill their store with antique and boutique-quality glassware, ceramics, and furniture, helping clients furnish their homes without sending them on a neverending search.
Owner Theresa Arsenault and the petal-pushers at Dogwood Floral Design teach the art of building a beauteous bouquet. With no more than eight students per class, this small informal workshop explores how to artfully arrange a few hand-selected seasonal blooms. Pupils will play with color palettes and learn to layer textures, as well as discuss which blossom looks best on a trick squirting boutonnière. The price of tuition covers floral shears and a take-home vase or container for each colorful creation, as well as light refreshments to be enjoyed at the session's end.