For 50 years, the owners and staffers of Plaza Artist Materials & Picture Framing have encouraged the artists of their community. They visit local fairs and set up booths for kids to color and craft, and they workshops, demos, and classes for artists of every age. As their name implies, they also outfit art makers of all skill levels with top-of-the-line materials, such as Gamblin oil paints, Prismacolor pens and markers, and custom frames perfect for saving a favorite art pieces or memorializing a sibling's failure to color within the lines.
On a quiet Cedarville corner, Beans-n-Cream sprawls out in a renovated bank?originally built back in the 1920s?to welcome thirsty patrons year-round. Warm up with a frothy, rich salted caramel mocha, or sip on cool frozen lattes paired with gluten-free muffins. They offer a full breakfast menu, all of which is handmade, including a homemade breakfast gravy. The staff also constructs custom sandwiches, such as a breakfast BLT, reuben, or southwestern chicken wrap, paired with freshly roasted and brewed coffee or a treat from the pastry case.
Knickerbocker Gallery is a family-owned showroom whose copious inventory of furniture and home-decorating accessories has been used to furnish upscale home showcases such as Homearama. Empty space and wall safes containing rare sandwiches can be covered with framed prints ($49–$389) displaying such artful imagery as cups of espresso ($49), sun-dappled wine fields ($63), and reclining nudes of famous yetis (bidding starts at $500,000). Table lamps (starting at $29) and buffet lamps (starting at $59) will bring less spooky luminescence into any enclosure than a common candelabra. Fouled fowls and mud-wrestling squirrels, meanwhile, can wash up in an exquisite iron birdbath ($49). The Knickerbocker showroom also features a large variety of resplendent woodcraft dining room, office, and bedroom pieces.
Easy as A-B-C, the artists behind Life in Letters craft custom photographic gifts available both in their shop and online. Over the years, they've amassed a vast collection of black-and-white photos of common objects and sights that resemble letters—such as arches, golf balls, fences, and palm trees—which they assemble into meaningful words, such as love, laugh, family, and nihilism. Once customers have chosen their word and selected each letter, they can have their piece matted and framed to suit their own decor or that of a loved one. The photographers also share their skills with aspiring shutterbugs during regular introductory photography classes.
Since equipping the world with its first wood-slat recliner in 1928, La-Z-Boy has branded itself as a well-known producer of high-quality furniture, including their signature recliner, loveseats, ottomans, upholstered sofas, accent tables, and much more. The Urbana oval end table ($249 and up) is genetically engineered to keep junk mail off the ground and blocks the couch's attempts to stretch out into the hall. A host of recliners, sofas, sectionals, the demi stationary chair and sleepers are also waiting to invade homes with their tasteful presence.
At the Springboro outpost of the Merle Norman franchise, beauty consultants tailor recommendations to every client after a free skin assessment. Through this careful analysis, they can identify both cosmetic and cleansing products to address issues such as acne, aging, and ears that keep sliding down. They can also teach clients how to apply these products with makeover sessions. Beyond aesthetic products, the Springboro location carries accessories from lines such as Vera Bradley.