Joining the witness-protection program is the best way to disguise your identity, but the vast array of costumes at Halloween Express gives the program a run for its money. For more than two decades, the chain’s 300+ stores have supplied customers with costumes year-round from vampire capes for Halloween to Caesar togas for the Ides of March.
In preparation for the fall of 2012, they’ve added new items to their Halloween collection. These costumes range from fuzzy blue monsters to skeleton zombies and can transform groups of four into Raggedy Andy and three clones spawned from his DNA. The store’s party supplies add a spooky touch to festivities and include tombstones, rotting pumpkins, and giant hairy spiders.
The Hartford Advocate named Consignment Originals the Third-Best Consignment Store of 2010. While there aren't many online reviews for the Rocky Hill and Orange locations, five Insider Pagers give the Cheshire location a four-star average:
Having practiced medicine for more than 25 years, board-certified Dr. Maria O'Brien wisely presides over the laser- and light-based cosmetic treatments at Millennium Med Cosmetics. Her gentle treatments require no anesthesia, whether she's tightening skin with infrared rays, clearing away hair with a laser, or flipping on a light switch to reveal that you're already totally hairless. Dr. O'Brien also performs Botox and Juvéderm treatments and runs medically supervised weight-loss programs.
Every morning at 4 a.m., Kevin Bassette and his sleepy staff don rain suits and rubber shoes, even on the driest summer days. They're heading into the cornfield, where every stalk wears a jeweled armor of dewdrops. For about two hours, they pluck and bag all of the ears they'll sell that day. The sweet, always fresh-picked corn is only one of the draws of his farm's produce stand and farmer's market booths. In fact, his 85-acre farm produces an astonishing variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs, which a brood of 350 free-range hens watches over as they lay eggs. These crops grow with low-level or no pesticides; rather, Kevin's integrated pest-management systems use ladybugs and very tiny scarecrows to ward off any troublesome bugs. Locals can get a taste of this fresh fare by visiting Killam & Bassette's stands at community farmer's markets or right on their land. Often, the farm's owners man the booths, chatting about crop varieties and recipes. They're an experienced bunch. The farm has been in owner Henry Killam's family since the 1800s, and Kevin began working there when he was only 9. His wife worked alongside him while they were dating, and today their five children share the ownership—and the chores—of the business.
Over the course of 20 years, family-operated Just Like New has inspected apparel, accessories, and home furnishings from thousands of consigners, accepting only the pieces that meet strict quality and style standards. At the start of each fashion season, the family treks to New York City to gather enough designer duds to restock two 5,000-square-foot locations. Clothing, shoes, and accessories by classic brands such as Coach and Ann Taylor adorn shelves and keep mannequins from being charged with public indecency, and a children's section outfits youngsters in apparel purchased exclusively from catalog brands and specialty stores. Just Like New's jewelry selection glitters with 14-karat gold and sterling silver; vintage and costume jewelry occasionally makes the cut by way of jingling the shop owners' favorite songs. Vintage glassware, furniture, and artwork make unique design accents for the home.
Jeff Lederman took a hobbyist's interest in personalized crafts more than 30 years ago, and today that hobby has blossomed into a gift mecca tinged with a distinctively masculine edge. RhinoGifts.com and its sister storefront Recognition Inc. fill orders big and small for all kinds of inscribed paraphernalia, from apparel and watches to cedar humidors for stogies, and incorporates customers’ own artwork, logos, and personalized messages to complete each gift. The outfit also emblazons trinkets for companies with no minimum order sizes, meaning big corporations and mom-and-pop shops alike can treat their employees to a commemorative pen on Dr. Spock’s half birthday.