Some years ago, Paul and Caroline heard rumblings about water hyacinths. Their inner horticulturalists were intrigued because these plants bloom early and combat algae, but water hyacinths were only imported from Singapore at the time and often carried invasive parasites. So, the couple resolved to grow the plants themselves and start Woodbridge Ponds, a local greenhouse specializing in safe, locally cultivated specimens.
Today, their two-pronged business consists of Echo Nurseries, a 27,000-square-foot wholesale nursery, and Woodbridge Ponds, a sprawling retail shop brimming with beautiful water lilies and pond plants, lively fish, and essential pond hardware and supplies. All of the shop’s retail plants are grown at the adjacent nursery, ensuring that no seedlings get homesick while waiting for a new owner. Their friendly team of loyal local women helps visitors navigate hundreds of available plants, which gussy up large ponds and simple birdbaths alike.
SwimSpot brings high fashion poolside by amassing a collection of designer bikini and one-piece swimsuits by brands such as Athena, Guess, and Nautica. Each swimsuit and cover-up incorporates contemporary trends such as asymmetrical cuts or tropical colours to create stylish silhouettes, and a fit-specialist service provides body-shape searches and remote one-on-one discussions with experts to find a flattering suit for any shape. Lauded in the pages of People Style Watch, Lucky, and Seventeen, an online bikini builder enables the beach bound to build their own ensemble by mixing and matching tops and bottoms using a tool that yields more than 1,000 possible combinations. In addition to providing detailed descriptions and material breakdowns, each swimsuit offered in the online store is modeled in a video that offers a 360-degree view, allowing customers to get a better idea of what they’ll look like as they run into the surf or slowly back away from a sleeping bear.
They say that home is where the heart is, and, in 1984, next-door neighbours Vickie and Jo Ann couldn’t have agreed with that statement more. Both moms with young children, the two women dreamed of staying home and caring for their kids, while also doing what they loved—sharing with others their joint passion for cooking. A kitchen-table discussion led to the foundation of Gooseberry Patch, and their first cookbook, released more than 25 years ago, featured many recipes borrowed from family members and friends.
Gooseberry Patch continues in its original tradition of collecting home recipes, but now their recipe ideas come from across North America. An active user base contributes to cookbooks covering topics such as baking, seasonal dishes and desserts, and kid-friendly dishes that children can make for themselves or with the help of a Barbie with arms bendy enough to hold a spoon. The library of cookbooks is complemented by calendars that similarly showcase recipes, help clients organize their holiday or party planning, or provide a foolproof way for anyone to remember what day it isn't.
Formaggio Fine Foods owner Jody Sigurdson-Longo, a Red Seal chef and graduate of Dubrulle Culinary Institute, strikes a balance in her cuisine by serving time-tested gourmet recipes alongside dishes that embrace the latest culinary trends. During her cooking classes, groups prepare dishes such as handmade ravioli, stuffed with butternut squash and mascarpone cheese and flavoured with brown butter and sage. For special events, Jody’s typical catered platter might include snacks such as brined olives, shaved prosciutto, and stalks of asparagus with which to gesticulate wildly during conversations. The shop also stocks a wide selection of imported cheeses such as manchego, a sheep milk cheese from the Mancha region of Spain, or Roaring 40's blue cheese from Australia's King Island Dairy. Jody also creates treats for on-the-spot enjoyment, such as panini sandwiches stacked with prosciutto di Parma, frothy cappuccinos, and 49th Parallel coffee.
80sTees.com saves customers the hassle of scouring vintage clothing stores and digging up neighbor's time capsules to find 80s-style t-shirts and socks. The online store teems with short sleeve t-shirts and tank tops bearing throwback company slogans, movie quotes, superhero images, and musicians. Customers can walk the streets wearing the 7Up Dot on their chest, or attend a concert in a shirt emblazoned with Jem cartoon characters. Though focused on mostly past fashions, the store also carries a line of tees with more modern images, including 90s bands and recent movies.
The company was started in 1999 by 80s fan Kevin Stecko, who decided to start selling vintage t-shirts on eBay after graduating from college. After the thrill of selling a He-Man shirt for $30, he decided to open his own 80s memorabilia store online in 2000, and the company skyrocketed from there. Now with a team of nearly 20 employees, 80sTees.com outfits everyone from pop culture geeks to celebrities.
Okabashi's colorful and eco-friendly flip-flops have caught the eye of television and magazine reporters across the United States for the company's commitment to the environment while producing fashion-forward footwear. Deep in its manufacturing facility in Buford, Georgia, the family-run operation has been transforming recycled materials into quality foot-cushioning sandals since 1984. Designers mold recycled plastics and a comfortable and vegan-friendly microplast material into the therapeutic shoes—which boast arch support and features such as massage beads—creating a sandal that has even been endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association. Each shoe is durable, washable, waterproof, and repellent to most carnivorous plants. Once wearers are finished with their footwear, they can ship worn sandals back to the Okabashi factory, where the company recycles them into new products.