The staff members at The Floor Project aim to incite their clients' creativity. In doing so, they give performance demonstrations and offer design advice throughout their expansive show rooms, where they show off hardwood, carpet, and tile flooring. Whenever possible, they stock the store with environmentally friendly and American-made products, of which clients can take home samples. To make the shopping process fun, they also navigate a mobile toy cart around the store to occupy children.
On a fateful day in 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, a hitchhiker arrived at The Howdy Come In––a rest stop owned by Ben and Eva Winter––carrying only his clothes and a suitcase full of cabinet-making tools. The Winters decided to hire him to build a chifforobe for their new baby, Bobby, and were so impressed by his craftsmanship that they decided to go into business with their new friend. Soon the partners were selling new and refurbished furniture out of the Winters’ dairy barn under the name Winter’s Furniture Store, and they eventually moved to a storefront in the city of Emporia, where they could share their high-quality wares with more people and fewer confused cows.
Today, the family business is run by the Winters’ son, Bob, who oversaw its expansion into two showrooms in Topeka and Lawrence and gave it a new moniker––Discovery Furniture. His merchandise buyers select fine furniture from around the world, filling the design floors with trusted name brands such as Broyhill, Aspen, and Flexsteel. As a member of the Furniture First buying group, Winter is able to pass along the savings of buying stock in volume along with a guarantee that he will meet or beat any competitor’s advertised price within 75 miles. Interior designers on staff can help customers determine which pieces, styles, and colors best fit their needs, and most of Discovery’s furniture can be custom ordered in any style, color, or fabric, catering to customers who know what they like and like to match their upholstery to their clothes.
Since he bought Framewoods of Topeka in 1992, owner Gary Blitsch has continuously expanded the business's framing capabilities, with a wide variety of projects custom-built for each client. Customers can hang fine handmade mirrors, framed photography, and expertly restored portraits on the walls of their home or business, and they can visit the stunning 1,600-square-foot gallery to view and purchase pieces from local visual artists.
Sun Resorts Tanning Salon gilds limbs with a fleet of UV tanning beds and private VersaSpa and Mystic tanning booths. To deliver even and radiant hues, the salon ensures that its beds? lights are more closely clustered than a bunch of grapes driving a clown car and that the beds? canopies aren?t overly arched. Patented spray-tan formulas imbue limbs with radiance without UV rays, and the salon?s Australian Gold tanning products help patrons become a beautiful shade of copper much like a crystal vase full of pennies.
Mother-daughter team Juli and Breanna, who just graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in metal smithing, share their love of artistic expression at Bee Creative Studio, where they invite guests to join them in painting pottery and fusing glass. Visitors browse the ranks of piggy banks, plates, and figurines of frogs and dragons before picking up paintbrushes or the end of their braids to dip in paint. Finished pieces stay at Bee Creative while the experts glaze and fire them, and their creators can pick them up in five to seven days.
Those who want to wear their art can paint designs that Bee Creative transfers onto T-shirts, baby’s onesies, or aprons for keeping clothes clean while cooking or performing mad, mad science. Or, guests can delve into the world of fused glass, layering colors for jewelry, plates, and sun catchers that the studio experts fire and ready for pickup in a week. In addition to its open studio hours, Bee Creative hosts parties for birthday celebrants and brides-to-be.
More than a decade ago, Carmen and Lynn Milazzo began making candles in their kitchen. They blended their wax with ingredients such as vegetables and fruits, an experimental alternative to the chemically fragranced candles they'd seen on the market. This hobbyist craft operation has since expanded into the online Mia Bella store. Now, the pair ships more than 100 scented-candle varieties throughout the country, helping customers fill their homes with the aroma of fruits and oven-baked dough without having to paint the walls with pie filling.
Mia Bella's candles burn for at least 60 hours, releasing fragrances distilled from soft wood, South Pacific fruits, baked goods, and fine wines through nearly soot-free palm wax dyed to soft blues, pinks, and bright oranges. Flameless candles disperse scents as they melt above the heat from a low-watt bulb, and candles housed in retro designer jars mingle aromas with potpourri as they burn. Carmen, Lynn, and their staff also mix a range of soaps and lotions from ingredients such as bamboo, lavender, and Japanese pear and grind makeup foundation from natural bismuth ingots.