In 1975, Jay Kogan's parents opened up a store that was literally a hall of frames—just a small store stacked with thousands of frames. At the time, they had no idea that that tiny corridor would expand to 12 locations throughout the greater Phoenix area, all still run by the Kogan family. Today, their shops have more than 4,500 custom frame options along with mats of all colors and textures, as well as seven glazing choices and expert assembly. They can answer framing questions and frame everything from documents and artwork to posters and small 3-D objects such as sports memorabilia and very still grandmothers.
When they custom-produce frames, the family cuts their mats exactly, miters frame corners precisely, and installs flawless glass. Or, since the stores' walls are lined with ready-made frames, customers can walk in and find what they're looking for quickly. Since installing framed art is an art unto itself, they also offer hanging services with an eye for placement and ability to install in difficult spaces.
As the sun dips below North Lake, strings of lights bordering Taverna Opa’s patio flicker on, casting a warm glow on the water below. The crepuscular calm lasts only a few moments at Taverna Opa: once night falls, live DJs take to the stage, furnishing belly dancers with a throbbing beat by which to shimmy and undulate. Waiters often lock arms and break into traditional zorba dancing. And, if the night reaches a fever pitch, patrons may smash their plates and toss their napkins in the air. This raucous atmosphere has earned Taverna Opa the spotlight in a slew of media publications. But though revelry is paramount, Taverna Opa doesn’t shirk cuisine: chefs marinate fresh seafood and lamb in fresh herbs and roast them on a wood-fired grill, and bartenders pour Greek wines well-suited for the succulent meats or postmeal Trojan horse christenings.
Picasso. Matisse. Grandma. Regardless of the artist, Borealis Arts treats each piece like a priceless heirloom. Its Borealis Arts' continued dedication to the high-quality work that they produce that enables them to celebrate their fifth anniversary in business this month. Though much of the frame shop's handiwork can be found in museums, customers don't need to buy a ticket to get a look at Borealis Arts' resumé. They need only step inside the store to find walls lined in local artwork, including prints made using woodcuts or acrylic engravings. All the artwork is framed, of course, by the staff's preservation experts. The skilled framers use museum-approved techniques and computer-aided mat cutting to protect family portraits, precious artwork, and 3-D items, such as a trophy or the family's ancestral garden gnomes.
In 1906, Tollef Skarsgard emigrated from Norway to pursue an American education. After attending school—and learning English along the way—he started a farm in North Dakota, which he first seeded in the spring of 1912. One hundred years and four generations later, Skarsgard Farms continues to produce a wide variety of crops. Tollef’s great-grandson, Monte Skarsgard, now oversees an upgraded version of the estate, where he harvests organic fruit and vegetables, and dresses scarecrows in designer overalls. The farm also distributes prepackaged produce from a variety of regional organic farmers year-round through an online delivery service called the Harvest Box Program.
Just Frame It operates under the artful eyes of Michael and Maryanne Oaks. The two have been crafting custom frames for more than 15 years, and today, they continue to assist customers in selecting from than 2,000 frame options. Metal, wood, gold, silver, and other rustic frames add character to any work, and a computerized mat cutter keeps edges and corners as sharp and clean as a rocket scientist in a bubble bath. The framing team preserves a range of treasured possessions ranging from paintings, photographs, and posters to three-dimensional memorabilia.
Alan’s Shoe House helps customers find the right footwear for them from such brands as New Balance, Dunham, and Ecco. Though each location stocks a unique inventory, all staff members have the knowledge to aid clients after a thorough training in shoe fitting, foot anatomy, and Footloose. In addition to the shoe selection, patrons can peruse a selection of T-shirts, polos, shorts, and warm-up jackets to outfit bodies for athletic and laid-back activities.