The furniture business has changed quite a bit in the more than three decades since Ken Silva founded Plymouth Furniture. Particleboard has replaced hardwood, and machines have, in some cases, taken over the duties of skilled craftspeople. Despite this, Silva and his son—vice president and director Randy Silva—have created and maintained a five-story gallery full of American-made furniture crafted from North American wood, often by the children and grandchildren of the men and women they represented 30 years ago. The store is a bastion of tradition, where staffers—usually family members—greet returning customers by name. While Ken recognizes the importance of showcasing their furniture online, he would rather you come by and sit on one of their sofas to experience firsthand the subtle smoothness of the leather, the comforting heft of the kiln-dried frame, and the durability of the eight-way hand-tied springs.
In keeping with the company's focus on quality, Randy shared his expertise with Shaunna Gately of the The Patriot Ledger, suggesting that buyers look for a hardwood frame, polyurethane-foam cushions with a high density rating, and a flow-matched pattern that continues fluidly over contours and panels. The family team also offers an in-home design service, putting together the ideal dining room or finding a lamp to match the blue-green face of a food-poisoned family member.
Furniture from more than 15 national and international sources fills Northeast Furniture Direct, a store that sells home furnishings at factory-direct prices. Shoppers can peruse memory-foam mattresses, leather sofas, formal dining sets, and more, all still wrapped in their factory packaging and bearing their manufacturers' full warranties. Each week, the store announces its public business hours; patrons can also visit during scheduled one-on-one appointments.
The certified trainers and nutritionists at CATZ Sports Performance Training Centers are focused on motivation, not intimidation. Nutritionists assist in overall lifestyle improvement with the understanding that nutrition plays a big role in attaining overall wellness. Nutrition plans are customized according to activity levels and lifestyles, along with personal eating habits and patterns, for maximum efficacy. Additionally, the centers' fitness classes are designed to increase the fitness of attendees of any skill level, including adults with sedentary jobs and children who avoid sports in school and extracurricular environments. While the strength and conditioning coaches regularly work with professional-level athletes, they motivate attendees of all skill levels through the ever-changing workouts with encouragement and individual attention.
All the centers' workouts are clinically designed by these certified trainers to build muscle, trim fat, and boost overall fitness regardless of the attendee's starting point. All sessions keep the student-to-instructor ratio low to ensure the professionals keep students on their toes and injury free. Students work through a dynamic routine of exercises that focus on both cardiovascular conditioning and strength training, including body-weight-based moves, running, and flexibility-boosting techniques such as systematically replacing limbs with rubber bands.
Country Marketplace’s carpentry connoisseurs revive cheery images of classic designs with contemporary handcrafted solid-wood furniture and accessories. Homeowners can hang their hats on a solid-cherry coat tree or dress it as a friend to make parties seem well attended ($99). Race around the office atop the heavy-duty casters of a carved-oak pressback desk chair ($199), or set to work at an antique oak roll-top desk equipped with a pencil tray and an organizer ($449). Young furniture users can dine in an oak Windsor highchair ($149) or chomp bubble pipes and whittle new pacifiers in a Victorian child's rocker ($99).
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.