In 1965, Popular Mechanics ran a small classified ad for Brookstone, a new catalog company that packed its pages with functional products and detail-oriented descriptions. Brookstone quickly expanded to meet the high demand for its collection of “hard-to-find tools,” and opened the door to its first retail location in 1973. Today, Brookstone’s more than 300 nationwide retail locations allow customers to test-drive its ever-growing lineup of interesting products, which range from Bluetooth-enabled massage chairs to power adapters designed for international travelers and their electronic passports. Staying true to its roots as a catalog company, Brookstone houses an even larger selection of products, each waiting patiently to be shipped, on its website.
California Backyard's five stores help homeowners turn outdoor spaces into full-fledged living areas with a variety of products, including barbecue grills, patio furniture, and hot tubs. California Backyard also provides its patrons with access to a team of service technicians skilled in the installation and repair of many of its products. Come the holidays, each store dedicates space to a Christmas trim-a-home center, where patrons can stock up on décor and pamphlets on healthy eating for Santa.
Since 1976, the environmentally conscious staff at The Futon Shop has stocked futons, furniture, and frames built from chemical-free cotton, natural latex, and hybrid soy foam, among other virtuous ingredients. Cushy mattresses, vibrantly shaded futon covers, and platform beds preserve the earth’s bounty as effectively as they accommodate human bodies and under-the-bed monsters. Homeowners can also illuminate domiciles with eco-friendly Eangee lamps, which have a carbon footprint of nearly zero and are manufactured by workers who earn a living wage. Even little ones can enjoy the environmentalist furnishings by napping on an organic crib mattress nestled in a bunny white baby crib.
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Furniture USA's warehouse of home furnishings and décor hosts myriad chairs, beds, sofas, and other living essentials in a variety of styles and finishes. Queen-size bedding sets ($89.94–$289.94) envelope mattresses in a variety of patterns and cozy fabrics, from ornate, baroque floral patterns to bold modern prints of Mark McGwire's face. Spruce up living spaces with an Abbey vintage sofa ($369.94)—sporting an embellished fabric upholstery—or an ornate Beaumont saddle rug ($119.94). A selection of chairs, lamps, and side tables helps populate empty rooms or create impromptu obstacle courses.
After emigrating from their native Russia, Ella and Dmitriy Aks began selling fine European furnishings out of their home. Before long, the two had worked their way toward their dream: opening Furnitalia, an Italian-furniture store all their own. After careful research, the couple connected with Excelsior Designs, a New York–based furniture importer with six product-specific factories throughout Italy. Ella—an experienced interior designer—admired the graceful, timeless qualities of Excelsior’s pieces, while Dmitriy—a master of engineering—was captivated by their exquisite craftsmanship and ability to form structurally-sound couch forts. Throughout Furnitalia’s show room, sleek, leather sofas and armchairs show off streamlined curves and simple, yet elegant structure that meshes with home-décor accents such as plush rugs and minimalist lamps.