Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.
Creative Fire Art & Pottery Studio has a roomy workspace where adults and kids can learn the craft of clay. The facility hosts day and evening classes. There’s also open studio time, where students can come and go as they please to finish building a piece or see if their clay pigeon has morphed into a real pigeon. In party packages, you and a group of friends can get a room to yourselves to work with clay under the advisement of an instructor. It’s also worth it to stop in Creative Fire Art & Pottery Studio’s gallery, which feature a number of original pottery pieces.
When a baby room takes the place of a man cave, once-cherished leather couches and entertainment centers often wind up curbside, waiting for their ride to the landfill. The Habitat for Humanity ReStore saves furniture from an untimely demise and stocks new and used building materials, using the proceeds to help to create affordable homes for the city's low-income families. Manufacturers, businesses, contractors, and individuals regularly stop in to donate a variety of items ranging from caulk to file cabinets to paintbrushes. The mostly volunteer staff at ReStore spent 2010 keeping more than 730,000 pounds of usable supplies out of landfills and trash mountains.
The technicians at Natural Cleaners revivify garments while respecting the earth's delicate ecosystem, eschewing traditional petroleum-based solvents for GreenEarth, a nontoxic formula made of silicone derived naturally from sand. Five Milwaukee-area storefronts bustle free from fumes and pollutants as suits, dresses, and coats shake off dirt during dry or professional-grade wet cleanings. Wedding-dress cleaning and preservation primes gowns for years of heirloom storage or Miss Havisham costume contests, and an in-house seamstress alters hemlines and cuffs to create dashing silhouettes. Household textiles also kowtow to Natural Cleaners' expertise as draperies, bedspreads, and feather pillows return home spic and span.