Since 1988, the New Mexico Scuba Center has prepared southwestern land-dwellers for underwater excursions. Submerged in the comfort of a family-friendly atmosphere, the facility provides divers with an opportunity to get their feet wet before cannonballing headfirst into underwater fight clubs. Owners Si and Stacey Minton aspire to produce competent, self-assured divers with a range of scuba classes built for all skill levels. The introductory Try Scuba class initiates anywhere from 5 to 20 newcomers with a pool session in which SSI–certified scuba instructors educate students on the proper use of equipment, safe-diving techniques, and determining the most favorable betting odds for sea horse races. All required scuba gear is included in the session, so divers have to bring only their doggy-paddling skills.
At more than 1,000 Mattress Firm locations around the country, shoppers sink into plush mattresses, recline on firm beds, and belly-flop onto pillow tops. Knowledgeable staffers can help customers create an ideal bedtime environment by dispensing advice based on sleep preferences and illuminating the difference between the many kinds of mattresses. And to the delight of their customers, much of Mattress Firm's bedding wears the label of a premium brand, such as Sealy, Serta, Simmons Beautyrest, or Stearns & Foster.
Rodeo Drive. Melrose. New York City. The Pink Rhino’s proprietor, Dori Martin, has luxurious sources for the consignment pieces she buys to fill the racks at The Pink Rhino. A former resident of Beverly Hills, Martin tends to favor clothes with a West Coast vibe—specifically, swimsuits that will scream unless they’re worn in the Pacific Ocean. Martin collects clothes for both men and women, as well as purses, jewelry, and other accessories.
The housemade dressings and spreads that slather Relish’s handcrafted sandwiches helped the spot nab top honors in Albuquerque The Magazine’s 2011 Best of the City awards. Wasabi mayo and apricot mustard top sourdough slices and French baguettes inside globally-inspired ham and turkey sandwiches, and roasted red peppers, Boar’s Head meats, and organic greens contribute color, crunch, and flavor to other items on the menu. Relish’s chefs, however, don’t limit their creativity by staying inside the crust—they construct fruit trays for catering orders and build slaws and salads as cool and crisp as a snowman after an elocution lesson.
To call The Body Shop a mere skin and body care store is to miss half of what makes it special. Late founder Dame Anita Roddick was a pioneer for ethical business practices; upon opening her first store in Brighton, England, in 1976, she developed company values such as "Defend Human Rights" and "Protect The Planet." She somehow balanced principles and profit, partnering in global campaigns with UNICEF, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and the United Nations, all while ultimately expanding her brand into 2,500 locations in over 60 international markets. After her death in 2007, then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, ?She campaigned for green issues for many years before it became fashionable to do so and inspired millions to the cause by bringing sustainable products to a mass market. . . . She was an inspiration.?
Indeed, the Body Shop exhibits an eco-friendliness and social consciousness that's hard to come by in a company of its size. Its products have been fair-trade since 1987, and its Against Animal Testing movement led to an EU-wide ban of animal testing of cosmetics. The products are made from ingredients harvested from around the world: shea butter from Ghana goes into body scrubs and butters, and Indian artisans craft wooden massagers and tote bags that are screenprinted by hand. But all that isn't to say the company's production practices overshadow its final products. Skincare treatments such as the brand?s iconic body butters, facial products, and gift collections often appear in Allure, Marie Claire, Lucky, Seventeen and other national publications.
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.