At Pick & Paint Pottery Shop, studio-goers can colorize raw ceramic forms with more than 70 kaleidoscopic paints and glazes. Pick & Paint Pottery stocks an eclectic array of bisques, ranging from simple mugs and plates to intricately designed vases ($1+). With brushes, glazes, stamps, sponges, stencils, and stickers at their disposal, customers creatively customize their ceramics, whether they want to adorn their pet bowls with canine imagery or paint Mike Ditka's scowling face onto teapots. The resident kiln operator then fires each piece, which can typically be picked up about a week later.
Led by internationally adept artistic director Laurence Miller, Pulse schools fledgling boogie-footers in the fine art of ballroom and Latin light-tripping. Each new student enlists in four lessons, held once per week for four consecutive weeks, and the studio's generous calendar offers up a multitude of class times to accommodate schedules bogged down by work or stints on the competitive canning circuit. Aspiring elegant movers may opt for ballroom lessons, learning the basic steps of the fox trot, swing, and waltz, and saucy shakers can enlist in Latin dance, which introduces freshly hatched hot-to-trotters to the fiery footwork involved in rumba, salsa, and onion-dip dancing.
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.