So established is Circle K that even brand-new vehicles recognize what its red-and-white logo stands for—fuel, snacks, and everything else a car might need to keep powering down the road with its driver. Circle K's story starts back in 1951, when Fred Hervey bought three Kay's Food Stores in El Paso, Texas. Under his guidance, these three little shops grew into the more than 3,000 convenience stores that crouch on our nation's street corners today.
After rolling up to a Circle K, drivers can pump their faithful roadsters full of high-octane fuel and send them skipping through a car wash to experience the cleansing touch of Blue Coral Beyond Green and Rain-X products. Then it's time to step inside the air-conditioned shop for a peek at the provisions. Rows of sodas hibernate behind glass doors, and snacks, candy, and their ATM guardians stand boldly out in the open. Some Circle Ks also offer the Take Away Café, which presents an appetizing lineup of healthy road fare including Ball Park hot dogs. Drivers can gear up for a long drive with Premium Coffees or enjoy a cold Polar Pop, whose specially formulated cup keeps drinks colder thanks to the family of tiny snowmen trapped in its foam walls.
At Play It Again Sports, athletes equip themselves with high-end and lightly used gear, apparel, and accessories in such brands as Nike, Wilson, Ping, and Mizuno. Links lovers will rejoice at the collection of bulk, used golf balls ($1.99/doz. for practice balls; $4.99/doz. for game balls) and new men's and women's clubs sets ($129.99+). Dig into the dirt with brand-new Mizuno cleats ($29.99–$34.99/pair), or prepare for upcoming shopping sprees by pumping out reps with a set of free weights ($.49/lb.) or dumbbells. Play It Again Sports also has equipment and apparel for dozens of other sports including football, basketball, soccer, tennis, disc golf, swimming, racquetball, and grizzly-tickling.
Engaging customers with handy home-improvement solutions for 47 years, White’s Ace Building Center stocks supplies for any building project or home spruce-up, including lumber, plumbing supplies, grills, and garden accessories. Cool off from the sun’s fiery whims with a Living Accent 16-inch stand fan ($29.99), or harness its toasty power with mini stake solar-powered pathway lights ($2.99 each), which emit soft hues without relying on two-faced wind energy. Gardens become fauna country clubs overnight with the Perky Pet 4 station hummingbird feeder ($7.99), and an easy-to-lift poly garden cart ($24.99) with the capacity to haul hundreds of pounds. To boost interiors, a 6-gallon pro series dry/wet Shop-Vac ($39.99) can effortlessly slurp up stains from carpets, tiles, and permanent records. White’s Ace Building Center also supplies roofing, paint, and hardware, with trained staff on hand to attend to questions or material-wrangling.
Since its founding in 1980, Sun & Ski Sports has remained true to its philosophy: “do a few things, but do them better than anybody else.” The shop stocks equipment in five categories of extreme and outdoor activities, including camping, skating, running, bicycling, and water and snow sports. It specializes in these to ensure its merchandise maintains a high standard of quality, and its employees are knowledgeable participants in the sports their department represents.
Bikers can drop off their steeds for tune-ups from certified mechanics who put all brands through the rigors of a 12-point inspection, checking chains and adjusting wobbly pedals and malfunctioning spoke-card motors. While waiting, curious eyes might linger on a North Face two-person tent, a Blackburn Airtower bicycle pump, or a vast selection of shoes from brands such as New Balance and Asics. Men and women can traipse nearly barefoot in the park with Vibram FiveFingers, which offer minimal structural encumbrances for a more natural stride, or cast their feet aside for the new-wheeled prowess that comes with a Fuji SL-1 LE Ultegra performance road bike.
On a quest to spread their knowledge of tea’s health benefits, owners Larry and Tamara Rhoads have shared tea with more than 300,000 Teaoli customers. They choose loose-leaf teas from the world over—black Assam tea from Indian plantations, green blends from Japan and China, and exotic herbals from the White House’s lawn. The teas aren’t the only well-traveled items resting on Teaoli’s shelves. Making the trek from Modena and Tuscany, cold-pressed 100% extra-virgin olive oils and white and dark balsamic vinegars smuggle in flavors ranging from smooth and savory to fruity and sweet. All of the balsamics develop their flavors in barrels made of oak, chestnut, cherry, and ash, where they steep with ingredients such as dark chocolate, black cherry, and fig. All of these flavors can be sampled in-store as knowledgeable employees stand ready to answer questions and relay the health benefits and uses of tea, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.
Not much compares to a sports fan’s loyalty to their school, and loyal fans choose Fan Outfitters as the best place to find Cardinals gear, apparel, and gifts. The shop equips supporters of all ages with T-shirts, jackets, hats, and sunglasses, as well as Adidas gear emblazoned with the University of Louisville insignia, ranging from hats and shirts to equipment bags and footballs. Fan Outfitters even carries products for kids, prepping the next generation of fans with shoes, dresses, and pacifiers. Their gifts make great presents for all occasions, whether celebrating the start of basketball season or helping your neighbor build a wall of baseball caps between your properties.