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.
Robert Parsly, a lighting designer with more than 25 years of experience, leads a knowledgeable staff at Lightwaves NJ, whose inventory is packed with lighting and home products for every room of the house. To help clients get an accurate picture of how each sconce and chandelier will look, Lightwaves fills its show room with creative displays of both indoor and outdoor spaces.
With more than 25 years of experience, Patio.com oversees a wicker- and wood-framed stockpile of rugged and refined game-room and outdoor furnishings to outfit open-air play spaces with tables, chairs, cushions, hammocks, barbecue grills, and billiard tables. Shoppers can peruse a variety of styles from teak and aluminum to adirondack, sling, strap, and nougat-centered.
Locals may have noticed that Lazzoni has grown into a family of 20-plus stores, but the company’s roots actually reach back more than 50 years and thousands of miles away. The first store was in Turkey, where they produced joinery pieces for windows and doors. They eventually got into the business of modular kitchen design, which evolved into the production of made-from-scratch and exclusive furniture for every room of the home.
Today, the brand has settled into a decidedly modern style. With a team of international designers from Turkey, Italy, and the United States, Lazzoni showcases original furniture made from Italian leathers, Austrian hardware, and Turkish textiles. The collection is marked by streamlined silhouettes, bold colors, and other contemporary touches: Andel armchairs shaped from clear polycarbonate get a pop of color from a seat cushion in one of 10 hues, and the simplistic Florence bed can be dressed in an elegant textile to match your favorite tuxedo pajamas.
Clients unsure of where to start with Lazzoni’s extensive inventory can request personal design services. Designers use blueprints or measurements from an in-home consultation to create a computerized 3D rendering in which homeowners can preview different pieces of furniture. The Lazzoni team also does staging for customers looking to sell their home or those who have recently kicked a furniture allergy.
Though he doesn't wear an actual crown, Bruce Wiener has earned the title of Bed King thanks to his family's long-standing business and his in-depth knowledge of what makes a high-quality mattress. Still, he rules with a fair hand. At his store, he and his staff share the three things customers need to know when buying a mattress: how it feels, how it's built inside, and what their budget is. They advise customers to test out each mattress by lounging on it for 15 minutes, examining its comfort, support structure, and willingness to share bedtime stories. They also arm customers with know-how on the latest technologies, demystifying industry jargon by explaining, for example, that coil systems impart equal weight distribution over the surface of the bed.