Mahoney's Garden Center beckons green-thumbs and novices alike to its sprawling facilities, which burst with a plethora of plants, blooms, and gardening accoutrements. Although merchandise varies by store, shoppers may score finds such as a knock-out rose shrub ($29.98), zinnia perennials ($4.98) or an 8-inch hanging ivy ($16.98), complete with a Rhodes Scholar application. The 6-inch hibiscus ($12.98) lends its vibrantly hued blooms to front porches or a modest giant's windowsill. Perch deserving bouquets in the 12-inch embossed teal ceramic planter ($44.99) or display 10- and 11-inch hanging baskets ($12.50) that double as hideaways for spare doghouse keys. Customers can also narrow their searches for outdoor patio furniture at the Winchester and Falmouth locations.
Since 1982, The Veron Company has dispatched talented technicians to lawns and homes for professional maintenance and beautification projects. The team was assembled from a pool of experts with decades of experience in landscape design and lawn care. Summoning the power of Gamgee, the God of Outdoor Design, they magically transform outdoor areas into lush landscapes with services such as organic lawn maintenance, mulching, and irrigation. The team also handles seasonal projects such as snow removal, installation of ice-melting systems, and professional holiday lighting.
In 2002, owner Peter Xu realized that the chemicals of traditional dry cleaning had caused damage to his hand, so he began a complete overhaul to eliminate those chemicals from his business and the lives of his customers. Today, Nature's Best Cleaners uses a chemical-free cleaning system known as "wet cleaning" that uses a water-based solution with natural cleansing agents. The process leaves no residue and evicts chemical-pollutant stowaways hiding in clean clothing. For those who have always wanted to defy the "dry clean only" warning, wet cleaning satisfies rebellious desires without threat of shrinking or spontaneous combustion.
Peter's Classic Cleaners wields more than 45 years of experience to launder and dry-clean clothing and accessories using environmentally friendly old-fashioned processes free of harsh chemicals. The staff specialize in cleaning valuable items, including wedding gowns and leather, and can wash, dry, and fold quotidian attire ($1.99/lb.). Jackets ($8+) stand straighter, and pants ($5.50) release grass stains or hard-won telephone-pole splinters after a thorough degriming. Patrons can drop off blouses ($3+) and dresses ($10+) for laundering and shirts or polos to be hand pressed ($3.50+). Once clothes are freshened, clients are encouraged to wear them all at once before falling asleep on a just-cleaned king-size comforter ($25).
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.
In addition to introducing customers to the intricacies of brewing beer and wine with instructional books and DVDs, Strange Brew can actually train customers in the fine art of making booze from scratch during its monthly in-store classes. During these small-group sessions, brewers divulge the necessary pieces of equipment, explore the core ingredients, discuss their roles in the brewing and fermentation processes, and lead a tasting of the final product. Even when they aren't applying this hands-on approach, the staff excel at helping customers ready their first batch, whether for a party or as a way to make taking a bath more fun. Starter kits for beer and wine include essential tools, such as fermenting and bottling buckets, siphon hoses, and hydrometers. To help customers fill these components with the requisite ingredients, a range of basic and specialized recipe kits feature pre-measured selections of hops and malts or juices and yeasts. Other kits are suited to more specialty brewing projects, such as mead or sake. For the more serious craft-brewers, Strange Brew also carries heavy-duty stainless-steel instruments by Blichmann.