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 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.
Neo Interiors looks for modernity in both form and function, culling furniture with contemporary shapes that also boast multi-functionality. Shoppers travel throughout a 15,000-square-foot showroom, alighting on pieces imported from Italy, Belgium, and Spain. The large and ever-changing inventory hails from approximately 15 distributors, each of which represents anywhere from 10 to 20 manufacturers. All-purpose design pops up everywhere, from updated takes on the sleeper sofa to wall-mounted storage units, whose glossy drop-down doors double as a makeshift bar or a stage for impromptu puppet shows. Italian Magniflex mattresses wrap soy-based memory foam in linen or organic cotton covers, some of which feature reversible designs that alternate between soft and firm support. Eco-friendly elements also ignite the shop's selection of freestanding bio ethanol fireplaces, whose smoke-free flames are powered by fuel harvested from grains and potatoes instead of gas, electricity, or magic spells.
The journey from confusion to organization doesn't have to be a long one. Often enough, it's the length of one tiny strip of metal?the staple that holds a school paper together, or attaches a cover letter to a r?sum?. Staples doesn't carry staples exclusively, of course, but for 26 years, they've aspired to create that same sense of effortless order. Their library of products covers everything from pencils and fire extinguishers to all-in-one machines and facility supplies, all of which aim to make jobs easier.
The technology aisles feature more advanced gear: cameras, phones, label makers, tablets, and laptops from popular brands. Onsite copy and print centers churn out professional documents, business cards, and several other types of paper and photo goods. And, though Staples' focus is work, the stores can also furnish break rooms with chairs and coffeemakers.
In more than 1,112 stores worldwide, Edible Arrangements' expert fruit florists arrange pieces of premium fruit in stunning displays for all occasions. Customers can customize their order to suit any occasion, receiving chocolate-dipped fruit such as pineapples, granny-smith apples, grapes, and juicy Albion strawberries that, unlike the sodas found in most mummies' crypts, don't contain any preservatives. Staffers can dip fruit in gourmet semisweet chocolate, white chocolate, or their own special peanut-butter-and-chocolate blend. For birthdays and anniversaries, chocolate wielders can personalize gift baskets with gifts such as plush teddy bears and mylar balloons.