Chalet stocks its 4.8-acre retail center with thousands of chlorophyll critters, including botanical buddies plucked from Chalet's own nursery in Salem, Wisconsin. When they're not giving plants rubdowns on the undersides of their leaves, more than 100 earthy retail employees (up to 350 seasonally) can help you pick out an African violet ($4) or a host of sprouting vegetables (starting at $3). Nab cache pots for $3 or a gurgling fountain for $40. Birdhouses made from recycled, century-old barns ($24) attract brightly fluttering worm-eaters, and a bag of soil laced with nutrients ($4) satisfies even the pickiest sprout. You can even get an outdoor chair ($99), a bag of dog food (starting at $14), and floral body lotions (starting at $9.75).
After the art of beading wrapped up Ayla Phillips Pizzo in its colorful embrace, she followed her passion to open Ayla's Originals, eventually creating her own line of jewelry, Ayla's Own, which has been featured in the Field Museum. On the walls of Ayla's shop, strings of Czech glass beads, gemstones, shells, and African beads boast enough colors to represent a rainbow or pay homage to a crayon collection. Filling the shop's floor space, cases brim with marcasite silver, oblong chunks of turquoise, and polished emeralds and sapphires. Bauble-stringing beginners can participate in regular classes taught by talented and worldly jewelry smiths that concentrate on various curricula, from creating dewdrop bracelets to wire wrapping the hands of a diamond-store security guard.
For more than two decades, American Mattress has promoted peaceful slumber in bedchambers throughout the Midwest with their vast selection of mattresses, headboards, and linens. The sleep experts strive to stay abreast of the latest bedding technology: their Serta mattresses are made with gel foam that supports curves, and Tempur-Pedic mattresses repel allergens, mites, and poltergeists looking to spoon. This devotion to a good night’s sleep has helped them earn the title of Best Mattress Store from suburban Chicago’s Daily Herald five years in a row. Additionally, American Mattress doubles down on each of its beds with a 30-day comfort guarantee and a 60-day best-price guarantee.
Isabella Samovsky fell in love with a salt lamp. Well, not just the lamp, but also the salt-assisted healing it provided. Her love for the salt lamp and its alternative approach to maintaining health inspired her to create Solay Wellness, a center that offers salt-based products and treatments. The Himalayan salt at Solay is harvested from ancient, mineral-rich seabeds, and can be found in hundreds of fair-trade and organic health, beauty, gourmet, pets, and lifestyle products including salt inhalers, natural rubber yoga maps, and soy candles. Solay Wellness also offers an extensive range of fair trade Himalayan salt crystal lamps with UL dimmer cords, which can be shaped like bowls, pyramids, globes, or salt shakers.
At the center’s private salt room, guests can meditate on lounge chairs as they breathe in the salt’s negative ions, which can help to reenergize the body, purify the skin, reduce stress, and alleviate allergy and asthma symptoms. Guests can also take up Tibetan singing-bowl sessions in rooms lined with ancient Himalayan salt blocks. Tiles and loose salt are also on hand to help stimulate pressure points in feet and give children a place to play. In addition to salt-based treatments, the center also offers reflexology and massage. Parking is available across the street, and a train station is nearby.
In 1908, Madison and State became the numerical zero-markers of Chicago’s new street system, making the corner where they intersected the new epicenter of city commerce. On nearby Wabash Avenue, the company jumped into the furniture game the same year, selling home furnishings built by skilled local craftsmen. More than 100 years later, the shop still buzzes with that original energy, connecting customers with the finest home furnishings from more than 50 manufacturers. The fourth-generation family business has migrated from the city center to five suburban locales, where showrooms display gleaming hardwood tables, towering entertainment centers, and elegant leather couches. Along with accent pieces and kid-centric design items, each Toms-Price location also offers special services such as furniture refinishing, reupholstering, and moving help. On-staff interior designers can also lend their eye to design projects, artfully arranging rooms and selecting the color schemes, fabrics, and wax doll heads that best bring out the inner you.
Walter E. Smithe's huge showrooms contain more than 500 collections of high-quality designer furniture and home accessories, stocking brands including Drexel Heritage, Nourison, Hancock and Moore, and Bradington-Young. Fill a brass-trimmed vase ($119) with flowers, pencils, or wishes, or keep winter moisture stylishly contained in a hand-painted umbrella stand ($99). Walter E. Smithe's selection of four-legged pieces includes an Ontario end table ($299) and a Louise chair ($599). Most products come with impressive warranties, including a 10-year guarantee for every cushion on the comfy Kayla sofa ($1,749).