In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers' market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,150 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options, such as the pepperoni pretzel and eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs, slicing it into bite-size nuggets, or using it to build historically accurate Austrian villages. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including flavored lemonade mixers.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. They also reach out to the community through fundraising opportunities.
For more than 85 years, the ASE-certified parts specialists at NAPA Auto Parts have recommended and supplied quality parts from their network of stores that has grown from one parts shop to 6,100 locations nationwide. The National Automotive Parts Association organizes its more than 400,000 tools, replacement parts, and accessories in a unique and intuitive inventory-control system that tracks down customer selections quicker than the Dewey Decimal System equipped with a fast-forward button. To skip the shipping, the online inventory system also lets customers reserve their parts for in-store pickup for immediate gratification and diminished wait times. Proud sponsor of Martin Truex Jr.'s #56 car, NAPA Auto Parts meets the automotive needs of drivers both professional and recreational.
Every shoe that's shipped to Active Soles undergoes rigorous testing before making it to the sales floor. The store's running experts expose the sneaks to rocky terrain, concrete sidewalks, and grocery-store conveyor belts before giving their "gold seal of approval." By testing the shoes in various environments, the staffers gain practical knowledge that can be passed on to customers. The store maintains an up-to-date stock of New Balance, Brooks, and Keen shoes, as well as gear and nutritional aides.
Alaska Snow Safaris organizes snowmobile tours of the Alaskan backcountry scheduled daily from November through May. Tours include one-day adventures on the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race or multiday excursions along the Susitna River and past breathtaking views of Mount McKinley.
Moose saunter through the Alaskan wilderness in the warmer months; salmon and grizzlies fill the streams. When visitors mount ATVs or snowmobiles behind the local guides of Alaska Backcountry Adventure Tours, they count themselves among these lucky inhabitants of the woodsy Alaskan landscape. Patrons can also opt for hiking, camping, and rafting day trips or overnight stays in lodges and log cabins cozier than a sleeping bag stuffed with marshmallows. During summer, they can drink in the monolithic majesty of Knik Glacier, and awe-inspiring mountain peaks and glaciers backdrop each of the excursions, some of which include campfire meals cooked up in front of the natural grandeur.
The expert florists at Alaska Wholesale Flower Market, whose collection of flowers comes from all over the world, teach visitors the tricks of the trade in a laid-back, personal setting. Every Saturday at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., owner and AFID member Robin Phillips hosts hands-on bouquet classes that demonstrate how to bind and blend different fauna into eye-catching arrangements using provided materials. After putting the finishing touches on their budding masterpieces, students can saunter home with personalized bouquets great for tossing over shoulders at weddings or diverting a stampede of wedding planners.