Readers of Richmond magazine have voted Car Pool Car Wash the Best Car Washing/Detailing business in the city multiple times over the last decade. Stepping into one of its facilities, it’s easy to see why. In addition to making autos look and feel like royalty, Car Pool Car Wash also cultivates a stress-free environment with sleek waiting rooms that resemble modern hotel lobbies and emit free WiFi. After grabbing a complimentary cup of coffee and receding into plush leather chairs, visitors are served a visual feast that may include floor-to-ceiling windows or a stone fireplace. Rocking chairs outside of the car wash enable car owners to wait under the open sky while flipping through a book or magazine.
Locally owned and operated since 1977, the automotive salon company has focused on advanced car-cleaning methods while expanding its outreach to include six full-service wash facilities, two exterior-only wash facilities, and a full-service detail shop. Many of the car wash's specialty packages cater to specific vehicle needs such as comprehensive interior cleaning or professional exterior waxing, services that enlist products from Simoniz and Rain-X to safeguard paint jobs.
Car Pool Car Wash strengthens its bond with repeat customers through its frequency rewards program, which makes participants eligible for future discounts after they sign up online or in person. The shop also carries Duck Bucks gift cards that allow recipients to prepay for regular car washes. In their efforts to foster a tightly knit community, the owners of Car Pool Car Wash regularly support local charities and organizations in their initiatives.
The streets and buildings of Richmond breathe with history. Patrick Henry’s famous words, “Give me liberty or give me death,” echo in St. John’s Church, where the statesman gave his infamous speech; the ghost of Poe wanders the streets of the Church Hill district, where he lived and wrote; and the bones of presidents James Monroe and John Tyler lie peacefully under the lush grass of the Hollywood Cemetery, a National Historic Landmark. These are just a few of the locations that segway riders glide through during educational tours organized by Segway of Richmond.
The company’s most popular jaunt, the two-hour Landmark Tour, takes groups to nearly 20 historic buildings, churches, and museums, whereas other ventures focus on specific aspects of the city’s past, such as the Black History Tour or the Edgar Allan Poe Tour. In addition to learning about the men and women who shaped the culture of Richmond and practicing their preferred mode of transportation, tour-goers can explore the architecture of Victorian and Edwardian homes during a Fan District Tour or think about murals, mosaics, and sculptures during a Public Art Tour.
Richmond magazine's pages glisten with stories and images of the River City's most intriguing dining, entertainment, shopping, and travel options. Each issue captures an exciting cover story in its glossy grip, detailing notable goings-on and spotlighting local movers and shakers. The monthly's reporters and editors highlight area restaurants in the dining section, and they fill the arts-and-entertainment section with news on upcoming concerts, gallery openings, back-alley dance offs, and theatrical performances. Meanwhile, news features keep locals abreast of politics and regional issues, a health section offers overviews of top doctors and facilities, and the life-and-style section details the ins and outs of fashion, along with articles on which travel hotspots are currently not overrun by gophers. Sister publication R Home arrives every other month with plenty of hints and tricks for home decor, gardening, and organizing.
Melanie "The Bead Empress" Bentley established her commonwealth of creativity after years teaching aspiring artists how to work with metal clays. Within her 3,000-square-foot embellishment emporium, Murano glass from Italy, hill tribe silver from Thailand, and Swarovski crystals fill shelves from floor to ceiling. Polymer clays, sterling silver, stringing materials, and Czech fancy glass that Melanie handpicked on a recent trip to the Czech Republic round out the store's stock and arm patrons with the materials necessary to line their family's treasure chest.
But Melanie goes beyond filling the supply boxes of local jewelry makers. She also aims to expand the crafting community by welcoming beading newcomers and showing those who don't believe in their creativity that there's an artisan inside everyone. Along with her fellow specialized jewelrysmiths, Melanie leads more than 45 classes per quarter, providing her customers with a means of acquiring jewelry that’s guaranteed to be free of curses.
Keeping the business in the family for more than 50 years, the sons of Conte's Bike Shop founder Charles R. Conte run the collection of cycle-centric shops with attention to personal service and a constant stock of top-notch bikes and equipment. Conte's technicians specialize in Body Geometry fittings, in which they observe how skeletons work in tandem with cycling movements and demonstrate how to avoid typical discomforts. Holding true to an individualized focus, the team also understands how to fit bikes for women and provides detailed guides that help cyclists choose the right set of wheels. A full-service center, the shop also provides cardio and fitness equipment and executes services such as bike tune-ups, drivetrain overhauls, and brake adjustments that ensure riders can stop on a dime, pick it up, and buy a Chiclet without ever dismounting.
Shoppers walking down West Main Street's long stretch of businesses are apt to notice one that stands out—a brilliant-pink storefront warmly lit by evenly spaced overhead lights. Along with its colorful façade, Pieces Boutique and Consignment catches the gaze of passersby with large, arced colonial windows showcasing stylish looks for both men and women. The boutique's offerings are a neatly organized medley of new and previously owned fashions from both revered and up-and-coming fashion designers. Pieces supports these local artists by selling their work in-store right alongside Nicole Miller's dresses, Ralph Lauren’s polos, and Alexander McQueen’s radioactive pocket protectors. The shop's highly selective employees make sure to populate Pieces' environmentally conscious bamboo display racks with an ambitious mix of beach, Southern, and city styles.
Miniature humans are stylishly outfitted with transportation, premium car seats, and accessories at weebsworld, a boutique store specializing in "hip gear for cool babies." Friendly staff members offer numerous services, performing complimentary baby-gear consultations that help parents pick out premium baby gear. Certified car-seat-installation technicians supply customers with weighted, life-size baby dolls to try out strollers and car seats, and a patented storewide stroller track lets them test baby chariots or train for upcoming carriage-pushing marathons. The staff will also assemble strollers purchased in-store free of charge in addition to providing complete product tutorial at pick-up, allowing parents and their pride and joy to wheel out of weebsworld in their stylish new ride.
A Guild Commended Framer, Frame Nation employs certified framers who match existing frames and create special projects from scratch. Behind the shop's brick storefront, staffers help customers to make selections from more than 2,000 frame samples, including acrylic, steel-welded, and wood options. Combined with glass, museum-quality practices, and a tiny flux capacitor, these protective casings preserve everything from diplomas to wedding photos.
To find inspiration for their own creations, visitors need only view the artwork lining the walls. Frame Nation regularly displays the handiwork of local artists; one ever-present exhibit includes a collection of frames and three-dimensional collages crafted from recycled materials.
Play It Again Sports overhauls lockers with high-quality gear and rescues gently used athletic equipment from untimely retirement. Products from brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Wilson make up an all-star lineup across each store's shelves, which are replenished daily with goods for a wide selection of sports that ranges from baseball and football to snowboarding and lacrosse. Treadmills and exercise bikes equip bodies with muscular suits of armor, and pintsize and adolescent equipment arms youngsters with protective padding until they eat enough bologna to grow muscles of their own. To ensure its stock remains robust, Play It Again Sports encourages athletes to collect their lightly used gear—including bicycles—and bring it into a local store to either sell or trade.
Richmond Fencing Club has molded budding fencers since JFK was president and humankind had just turned its eyes to the moon. Today, three instructors—each with their own titles from the Virginia Division Championships—helm the educational efforts, overseeing a program that educates students as young as 6 in the foot- and bladework required to wield a fencing foil competitively.
They teach in a no-nonsense facility, its cinderblock walls decorated only with pegs to hang fencing equipment, its smooth hardwood floors interrupted only by well-worn fencing lanes. The fencing-dedicated space keeps elaborately uniformed students cool with central air conditioning instead of replacing helmets with ice buckets like lesser establishments.
Michael Glatter has appraised fitness from many different perspectives—as an athlete on a wrestling team, as a competitor in power-lifting meets, as an Applied Health Science student in a college classroom, and as a personal trainer. He brings his extensive athletic experience to Glatter Fitness, pulling from his knowledge of kinesiology and expertise in various training methods to craft workouts designed to slim physiques and tone muscles. His constantly varied boot-camp workouts are packed with strength-training and cardiovascular exercises such as kettlebell swings, lunges, and mountain-climbers.
Since its founding in 1978, the international quick-lube franchise Grease Monkey has maintained its focus on speedy treatments and a detail-oriented approach to auto care. Shop technicians tune up rides with services such as air-conditioning repair, air-filter replacement, and fuel- and emissions-system cleaning. Grease Monkey's signature service, though, is its full-service oil change. After replacing a vehicle's lubricant with GF-5 or re-refined motor oil, technicians perform an entire review of its maintenance needs, referencing the owner's manual and the wise hermit living in the trunk.
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.
Capel's floor décor experts help shoppers sift through more than 10,000 styles to find high-quality ground garments suitable for all tastes and spaces. Established in 1917, the company still spins, dyes, weaves, and stitches its sturdy American Original braided rugs from a home base in Troy, North Carolina. In addition to the classics, Capel stocks outdoor options, kid-friendly rugs such as the 3' x 5' Playtime Starburst ($138), carpet maintenance accessories, and pieces woven from commonly recycled materials, such as the 3' x 5' Lariat Rug's reclaimed upholstery leather, as well as cast-off sock puppet sweaters and rom-com plots ($58).
Fab’rik has garnered a lot of praise and wolf whistles from the press thanks to its wide range of women’s apparel and accessories. With the change of seasons imminent, stock up on winter fashions so that you’re not forced to craft makeshift loincloths out of Christmas tree skirts when the fall outfit you’re wearing magically vanishes. Attract admiring looks with a paisley silk top ($52) or dazzle lumberjacks with a pair of suede chain flats ($28) during flirtatious log-rolling contests. A striking fringe one-shoulder dress ($58) will give you the power to turn heads of passersby and sashay past territorial badgers unharmed, while the big buddha carrie handbag ($68) comfortably accommodates knickknacks and jars of nail clippings. Fab’rik’s helpful, fashion-forward staff is on hand at all times to help you piece together gorgeous get-ups for your life-size action figures, and will dislodge the heads of any customers who mistake a pair of skinny jeans for a top.