Guests at Cher Ewing's monthly PinTwist Parties do a lot of making. They make canvas art, they make wine bottle crafts, they make fashionable T-shirts, and they make one-of-a-kind jewelry. Most importantly, they make plenty of memories. Anyone is welcome at the Tuesday meet-ups, where Cher and company lead a group class on a project from their Pinterest board. Besides the public events, the company can bring their parties and supplies to a private birthday celebration, girl's night out, or bonding retreat, allowing the host to skip her traditional duties and just nap under the bed with the cat.
The staff at CSD Sports Framing & Memorabilia routinely preserve high-value artifacts behind glass—from Emmitt Smith's Dancing with the Stars outfit to a piece of the floor from Michael Jordan's last game—but that's not the only thing that sets this framing store apart. The framers here handcraft nearly every aspect their projects in-house, including the frame, mounts, and custom engravings.
Although the framing of art and memorabilia is their primary focus, the staff still traffics in the autographed merchandise that helped launch their business. Visitors to the shop can ogle a Hall of Fame football signed by the Dallas Cowboys and renew the Curse of the Bambino on a Red Sox World Series banner.
Legendary athletes including Troy Aikman, Adrian Peterson, Steve Nash, and Johnny Bench have autographed Signature Collectibles’s collectibles in person, ensuring that the store brings authentic sports memorabilia to customers. The store also receives unique items from national sports-marketing companies, such as Upper Deck Authenticated, Steiner Sports, and Mounted Memories, bearing the signatures of contracted athletes including Tiger Woods, John Elway, and Joe Montana. In addition to showcasing these newly scribed items, Signature Collectibles can spruce up customers’ existing memorabilia inside their in-shop framing facility. They specialize in framing jerseys, during which they steam away wrinkles, sew the jersey onto an acid-free mat board with foam-core backing, and surround everything with a high-quality frame that magnetically repels fair-weather fans.
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.
Staffers personally select the titles that line the shelves of a Real Bookstore's 20,000-square-foot facility. Each tome is carefully culled from a stock of new arrivals, featured debuts, and signed copies from guest writers. Author visits commence in the cozy event area, where the wordsmiths entertain attendees with presentations, question-and-answer sessions, and book signings where they increase their work's value without dipping the pages in gold. At Fierce Words & Stiff Drinks events, authors interact less formally with readers over wine, artisan beers, and cocktails inspired by their books.
Youngsters enjoy their own events in the 2,000-square-foot children's section. Tuesday- and Wednesday-morning story times enthrall preschoolers with tales, crafts, and snacks, and Friday-night PajamaRama story hours invite kids for a bedtime version of the same. The store’s Collage Bakery and Bar further caters to families with menu items made in-house, and adults can enjoy glasses of beer or wine at seating areas inside or outside the store.
Each year, StanzaTextbooks supports the world of academia with its selection of rental textbooks, college apparel, and school supplies. Its two store locations help students at the University of Texas at Arlington and University of Texas at Dallas scratch off titles from their textbook lists and fill their closets with school pride. When students can't make it to the store, StanzaTextbooks's online search engine allows them to pinpoint rental books by title, author, keyword, or ISBN. The online service processes thousands of nationwide orders monthly and offers free delivery. Though the rental textbooks may contain highlighter trails, minor nicks, or doodles by Albert Einstein, the staff keeps its shelves clear of books with torn pages and ripped covers.