As the sun dips below Coopersville Farm Museum and Event Center’s grain silo, local musicians gather in the high-ceilinged hall against the backdrop of patchwork quilts and antique farm tools. They sing gospel, country, and folk songs that have been passed down for generations. Events such as these are one facet of the museum’s mission to honor and uphold rural traditions. In addition to the monthly jam sessions, the 12,000-square-foot facility hosts quilting circles, line dancing, and other skill-swapping events. Curators spotlight the region’s agrarian past by recruiting antique-farming tools and folk art and freeing hopelessly lost scarecrows from corn mazes. In addition to shining a light on the region’s past, the museum strives to support current culture makers; The hall serves as a gallery space for local artists, and during the youth-led Kids’ Day local teens teach tykes creative skills.
A bride and two of her bridesmaids strike Charlie’s Angels poses, their guns replaced with bouquets, in one image from Justin Hill’s portfolio of artful wedding shots. In another, a child tries on a floor length wedding dress, looking disappointed as its skirt polls on the parquet floor; in a third, a couple’s hands interlace next to Scrabble tiles that spell out “forever.” A proponent of candid shots, Hill nevertheless stylizes his photos with funky locations and unique composition, having a couple pose atop rustic railroad ties, honing in on their locked hands, or cropping out their faces to appease invisible relatives. To ensure smooth shoots, Hill keeps his cell phone with him at all times to answer any questions the couple may have.
The laundry masters at family-owned Hi-Tone Cleaners suss out stains and eradicate unpleasant odors with a variety of services honed over the course of three decades. Clothes caretakers make linens preen under the affectionate grandmother-like embrace of a dry cleaning, and shirts bask in the soppiness, then dryness, of an old-fashioned laundering. The team can also shape up ill-fitting duds during alterations and repairs and grant boots with enthusiastic go-go owners a pulchritude-bestowing makeover during shoe care and repair. Hi-Tone Cleaners' stain fighters also makes same-day services available in case of dry-cleaning emergencies such as an impromptu party or a rumor that Publishers Clearing House will show up by the end of the day.
For more than four decades, founder Hank DeVries and his team of dedicated professionals have manicured local yards, backing all their services with a satisfaction guarantee. Technicians beautify grass not only by mowing and watering but also by methodically eradicating crabgrass and other weeds with phosphorous-free products. Aeration services let air circulate through soil, and hydroseeding stocks soil with a seed blend resistant to common diseases, such as the nausea that often turns grass even greener. Pruning jobs keep trees and shrubs looking presentable, and pest-prevention treatments liberate lawns from white grubs for up to seven months. Crews stay useful when trees are leafless by shoveling snow during the winter months and decorating rooftops in Christmas lights or glowing Thanksgiving dioramas.
Jennifer Malinowski of Renewal Body Bootcamp coaxes hard work, discipline, and buckets of sweat from fitness-seekers during her intense, full-body workouts. One of her specialties is TRX resistance training, which involves suspending students by their arms, legs, and torsos from straps and harnesses dangling from the ceiling. Exercises require participants to fight gravity and their own body weight to build muscle. Malinowski sometimes combines TRX with Pilates core-strengthening work or a rigorous plyometric regimen, mixing up workout routines daily to maximize effectiveness. In addition to physical training, she supplies students with nutritional counseling that measures appropriate caloric intake by the day, creating balanced diets that supply ample energy without extra carbs, fats, or whatever compound butter is made of.
When it relocated in 2011 to Grand Rapids from Grand Haven, its home of more than 25 years, Gallery of Frames brought with it a huge selection of conservation materials. Its team of framers encloses artworks and heirlooms with custom-cut combinations of moulding, mat, and glass. Examples of these skillfully designed frames can be found surrounding pictures of athletes at local Brann's locations, or actual athletes if they’ll just sit still for a minute.