The sharp smell of evergreen sap fills the air as emerald-green needles stir together in the wind. Brian Bosch and his wife Cim preside over seedlings and transplants of species such as firs, spruces, and pines at their tree farm at Bosch’s Countryview Nursery, Inc. During November and December, the cold breath of visitors drifts in clouds among Christmas trees. Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of the holiday season, guests climb into a hay wagon pulled by horses, their hooves making the gentle beat of a shy drummer. Hot beverages and snacks warm hands among the long ranks of trees, which staff members or visitors can cut down.
Tropi Tan does something the sun can’t. It tans bathing- and- birthday-suit-clad bodies throughout the year and keeps the golden glows coming until 9 p.m. or later on weeknights. Inside standup and lie-down tanning booths, clients relax as warm rays penetrate the skin and build a natural bronze in up to 20 minutes; a collection of lotions helps speed up the shade-shifting process and keeps skin looking healthy and moisturized. Those who prefer UV-free tanning can opt to hop in one of the studio's spray-tanning booths, which swap bulbs for a sugar-based solution that leaves skin golden and more kissable to horses for up to five days.
At Hudsonville Winery, classics like white zinfandel and Pinotage are just the tip of the iceberg?the wine list also features fruity styles, such as kiwi pear, and a chocolate-raspberry dessert wine. Visitors sample these wines in a cozy tasting room, pairing their pours with appetizers created by Chef Tim of Pietro's. The small plates range from chicken fritters with asian ginger glaze to hearty pulled-pork sandwiches.
In addition to award-winning wines, guests can enjoy brews as well. The winery shares a building with Pike 51 Brewing Co., named after the old highway now called Chicago Drive. They craft their traditional, seasonal, and one-off beers, 15 of which are on tap, onsite in their family-owned brewery.
Doing their part to help fund Habitat for Humanity's local mission, ReStore sells new and gently used building materials and home-improvement supplies to homeowners looking to spiff up their abodes. But it's not just existing homes that benefit: proceeds from every sale are funneled to Habitat Kent, which builds homes for low-income families who need them. Over the past decade, they've raised more than $1 million for the organization, which is enough to build nine homes or one home that can clone additional homes. The donation-based inventory is constantly changing, but often includes electrical and plumbing supplies, lighting, tools, and upholstery.
Minister Edgar J. Helms founded Goodwill at the turn of the 20th century to support the unemployed immigrant population of Boston. He gathered unwanted household items and hired the immigrants to refurbish them for resale. Over time, the operation grew into a comprehensive job-skills training and placement program.
In the past 90 years, Goodwill Industries has played an integral role in communities nationwide by placing nearly 90,000 individuals into jobs. Each purchase helps fund programs that help people with barriers to employment find work, and the stores themselves serve as a training site for participants to gain work experience.
Since 1947, Mid-City Supply Co.’s friendly staffers have helped avid home improvers to outfit their digs in premium products. Nowadays, the experienced showroom staff displays much smarter fixtures, from faucets that turn on with the tap of a hand to eco-friendly water heaters powered by domesticated dragons. Though technology has changed, the company keeps quality high, stocking name brands such as Delta, American Standard, Toto, Gerber, Brizo, and Elkay. Customers can check out items in person at one of six showrooms in two states. To give back to the communities that helped them to grow, the company regularly donates to United Way.