George Moore is the third-generation owner of a family business that opened more than 60 years ago. True to its original purpose, the shop still sells sewing machines, cabinets, vacuum cleaners, and ceiling fans, but now aims to acquire equipment that is eco-friendly and ultra-efficient.
Alongside its retail branch, Moore’s nurses the machines it sells back to health and leads crafting classes. Expert stitchers lead hands-on sessions in everything from quilting to correctly taking the measurements of a restless scarecrow.
Named one of Parents magazine's Top 10 Birthday Chains in 2010, Color Me Mine's international franchise of DIY ceramics studios cater to an older crowd as well. Hundreds of unadorned ceramic pieces?including vases, flatware, and busts of Elvis?await the attentions of muses of kids and their keepers alike, as do glazes in earthy tones and bright crimsons to frighten bulls away from china cabinets. Guests follow simple step-by-step instructions that leave plenty of room for creative expression. When painters are satisfied with their work, the professional kiln-workers help glaze and fire it for them before customers retrieve the finished piece a few days later.
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.
All About Yarn owner Pilar learned to knit and crochet from her grandmother at the age of 5. She learned at first by watching, and then by imitating, and eventually, she was skilled enough to make her own patterns. When Pilar later immigrated to the United States with her husband, tasks such as learning English, working, and raising her family filled her time. Now that her children are grown, though, she spends her time doing what she most enjoys: knitting, crocheting, and sharing her skills with others. She conducts lessons with patience and care, and she also stocks a wide variety of yarns and instructional books.
Bear Essentials Gift Shoppe's well-versed shopkeepers stock their 4,000-square-foot mecca with exemplary giftables suitable for satisfying a laundry list of people and occasions. Pick up a Tyler candle for a thoughtful hostess gift ($6.95), or swaddle a favorite baby with a new blanket ($9.95), sealing in security and sealing out thoughts of looming future spelling bees. Shoppers sheathe mascara within the stylish confines of a Vera Bradley cosmetic bag ($22), bestow solemn flair upon empty mantels with a Willow Tree nativity set ($74.95), or take chicly to the skies bolstered by a Baggalini travel bag ($43.95). After customers conclude an easy afternoon of perusing the shop's eclectically grouped items, Bear Essentials Gift Shoppe's staff prepares each present with complimentary gift wrapping, adorning gifts with a decorative flourish and taking the stress out of trying to wedge a Tiffany lamp into a festive tin.
At The Frame House, design professionals tailor custom frames and shadowboxes to suit the tastes and surroundings of discriminating decorators. Painting possessors and particularly judgmental walls will enjoy the efforts of the store's skilled team of frame facilitators, who listen closely to customer requests before launching each project, such as fitting 10"x12" custom blackwood frames, mat, and glass ($77) around oils on canvas or chalk scrawls excavated from the sidewalk.