Contemporary and traditional lighting fixtures imported from Italy, Spain, and Germany or built by American companies cast waves of golden radiance across Neena's four showroom locations. Add color to kitchens or decorate Independence Day–themed chicken coops with glass Tiella pendant fixtures ($96), available with a sleek dome of red, white, or blue marbled glass. Patrons cheer teams on beneath illuminated football, soccer, or basketball lights ($102.60), and desks produce improved homework yields under the glow of a Koncept table lamp ($164.95). A tripod floor lamp ($356.90) stands on its own three feet, bouncing light off other home décor items from Neena's including an oyster-shell mirror ($290), which grants the deep-sea self-confidence to stand up to line-cutting pufferfish.
Fast Frame originated in Europe and now has more than 300 locations worldwide. With the understanding that people are prone to changing their minds, the teams at these 300 Fast Frame stores back up all their custom-framing projects with a 30-day design guarantee, giving patrons a month to decide if they want to swap their memorabilia for one of more than 2,000 other frame styles, paying the price difference if applicable. For each project, a team with more than 60 years of combined experience performs the work onsite, generally completing designs in less than a week and sometimes on the same day. In addition to photos and diplomas, customers can commission shadowboxes or framing of bulkier items, such as jerseys or baby’s first rap sheet. For all finished projects, Fast Frame secures its craftsmanship with a lifetime warranty.
The staff at Zoots Dry Cleaning extracts stains and stress by pairing eco-friendly dry-cleaning services with the convenience of extended evening and Sunday hours, 24-hour drop-off and pickup services (available at most locations), and an automated drive-thru system. Team members clean clothes, draperies, bedding, and rugs with a biodegradable solvent as opposed to harsh PERC chemicals, and some staff are trained to expertly excise stains from the delicate lace and beadwork of bridal-gown bodices. Most stores also have a tailor on location who is able to alter ensembles in a snap. Customers get e-mail notifications when orders are ready or they can download a smartphone app to keep a close eye on the status of their dirty laundry.
From their home base in the Warren Building, officials of the Wellesley Recreation Department fine-tune a year-round roster of sports leagues and community classes. Adults master crafts that range from pottery throwing to Capoeira, a blend of Brazilian martial arts and dance. Kids channel their creativity into painting courses or the Star Wars: Jedi Training class, which often includes creating a recycled droid and lightsaber lessons with retired stormtroopers. All of the programs are self-supporting, so directors charge reasonable fees and divvy up the money among materials, instructors' salaries, and other necessary expenses.
During the summer, throngs of people advance on Morses Pond, an ocean lookalike complete with a sandy beach, water slide, and volleyball nets, and kids aged 5–12 fend off boredom with summer day camps. Meanwhile, the lights of Hunnewell Tennis Court blaze into the evening hours, allowing athletes to face off after dark when the sun is taking its nap.
Rick Bern discovers beauty and intrigue in even the most mundane details of the world about him. Fueled by that passion, he turned his photography hobby into a full-fledged career, publishing work in the New York Times and the Boston Globe, and winning the Bride’s Choice Award from WeddingWire.com. With an armada of Nikon cameras and gear suited to on-location and in-studio shoots, he spends his days snapping crisply composed photos during weddings and bar mitzvahs, as well as portrait sessions for actors, families, and kids. Having grown his business so successfully, today Rick surrounds himself with a team of equally skilled full-time shutterbugs to better cover a wide range of events and shoots, and promises a 100% money-back guarantee if his customers aren’t completely satisfied with their sessions. He also commits himself to the community by working with organizations such as March of Dimes and Youk’s Kids.