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.
Amid the July heat of 1955, four brothers—Arnold, Horace, Howard, and Oreon Wesche—took ownership of the existing Overland Hardware, working tirelessly to keep their store well oiled until 1975 when the next generation of Wesches grabbed the reigns. Dedicated to upholding their forbearers' rigorous standards of friendly and personalized service, current owners Gregg Wesche and Don Burkhardt maintain the store’s old-fashioned sensibilities of customer service. The knowledgeable staff spends time explaining tools and their uses to shoppers before carrying out purchases to customers’ horses tied up out front. The affable crew stocks shelves with seasonal supplies for all manner of projects, from large-scale home repairs to garden hobbies. Champions of speedy yet meticulous workmanship, Overland Hardware’s jack-of-all-trades staff also performs multifarious in-store and on-location services, from cutting chip keys for cars to repairing screens smashed by thieves attempting to steal cooling pies off of windowsills.
True Value traces its origins back to 1910, and now boasts 4,500 independent retailers across the country—one of which perches locally on Hampton Avenue, ready to outfit DIYers, gardeners, and homeowners with the supplies their projects demand. Should the store's generously stocked shelves leave a specific screwdriver or grass seed to be desired, a staffer can order items from True Value's densely packed catalog at no extra charge. In addition to equipping jacks-of-all-trades, the skilled technicians at Southside True Value Hardware can be called upon to repair household items, such as lawn mowers that have lost their faith in the tenets of a neatly trimmed yard.
Schnucks Kids Camp is more than a grocery store. While they sell cooking ingredients, their coaches also teach the culinary techniques to transform basics into piping hot dinners. During live demonstrations, novice cooks stop by to watch and learn as chefs whip up featured recipes, doling out samples to passersby. They happily answer any questions about cooking methods and required equipment, helping budding cooks who want to recreate the dishes at home. Necessary ingredients for every demo dish are available for sale beside each demo station, rather than magically stowed under the coach's chef's hat.
The company also encompasses a more structured cooking school, with classes for couples, families, and kids. A sommelier teaches adults about wine-tasting basics in one session; in another, students learn to prepare market-fresh fish. Kids' classes, meanwhile, cover topics from fondue to circus-themed snacks.
Almost 100 years ago, Peter J. Oberweis found himself with a surplus of milk. Rather than throw it out or freeze it into popsicles, Peter began selling it to his neighbors, an endeavor that was so popular that he began a milk-delivery service in 1927. Fast-forward to today, and Oberweis Dairy still delivers glass bottles of creamy milk to doorsteps. The small family-owned dairies that produce milk exclusively for Oberweis pledge never to use artificial growth hormones, therefore imbuing craft cheeses, super-premium ice cream, and yogurt with fresh, unobstructed taste. Oberweis partners with other like-minded companies to deliver such items as certified-humane Phil’s Fresh Eggs, Chuckanut Bay Foods cheesecake, and Connie’s Pizza to homes or to sell them at the company’s various retail locations.