Sew Portland serves both novice needlers and savvy stitch gurus alike with myriad sewing classes and supplies. Dust off neglected stitching apparatus and cart them over to Sew Portland for a brief checkup, during which one of Sew Portland's cadre of savvy sewing-machine technicians will test all the cogs and bolts to make sure the mechanism is up to snuff. Once the checkup has been completed and the gerbil that rotates the wheel powering the machine has been fed and petted, the technician will guide Groupon buyers through a reintroduction to sewing, filling noggins with expert tidbits about how to construct a patchwork wedding dress or how to repair a sail in the middle of a hurricane.
In 1967, a pair of rock climbers founded the first Eastern Mountain Sports store to share their passion for nature and provide the hard-to-find gear they used to explore its wildest depths. Since then, the outdoor-gear-and-apparel purveyor has expanded to encompass 69 retail locations and 11 outdoor-adventure schools between Maine and Virginia. Using input from their own climbing-school guides, they design, engineer, and test much of their own gear and apparel—often amid harsh conditions on Mount Washington Observatory’s wintry peak.
In each store and adventure school, a knowledgeable staff outfits customers for year-round camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and other outdoor expeditions. Bianchi, Jamis, and Marin bikes speed cyclists along paths, and multipurpose backpacks help adventurers keep their secret diaries safe from bears. Stores also stock men’s and women’s seasonal outdoor apparel and high-tech outdoors electronics such as altimeters, GPS tools, camping lanterns, and portable audio devices.
To ensure customers venture out with the proper gear, Eastern Mountain Sports also backs up services and products with a satisfaction guarantee. Upon request, they can replace products, adjust climbing gear, and perform maintenance on bikes, skis, and snowboards. Staff members may also recommend their favorite trails, climbs, and rivers, or help customers embark on international adventure tours conducted by Austin-Lehman Adventures.
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.