Winner of the Phoenix New Times Best Exotic Nursery award, Tropica Mango nursery fosters a forest of tropical and subtropical fruit trees and oversees a wide inventory of plants suitable for desert climes. Take home a banana ($35–$45), pomegranate ($35), or avocado ($49) tree to provide shade and edibility in your back yard, or watch mango ($55) and guava ($49) trees flourish under the blazing heat of the Sonoran sun. If you have gardening inquiries, Tropica Mango can dole out advice on fertilizing, nurturing, raising fruit trees in a desert environment, and burying VHS tapes in an eco-friendly manner.
At Hot Ace Comics and Collectibles, friendly archivist Joe Clark keeps cape-chasers up to date on the exploits of their favorite characters with an ample stock of titles from well-known and independent comic labels. The tidily stocked emporium of serials celebrates the adventures of characters from the heroic annals of the Justice League, Superman, The Avengers, and the X-Men, to the gritty chronicles of The Walking Dead, along with family-friendly titles such as Sonic the Hedgehog. With each subscription, customers maintain membership in The Agency, which adorns them with a personal in-store delivery box plied with their new issues, as well as a newsletter heralding upcoming comics events and chances to win prizes. As clients join the ranks of Hot Ace's exclusive subscribers, they also receive security-clearance badges, a personalized secret-agent number, and a quirky sidekick.
The mechanics of Bikes Direct and Bike Masters treat cycles to the repairs and tune-ups that keep life rolling along. They also pair riders with brand-specific bike clothing and accessories such as carriages that give kids, dogs, or stuffed animal collections a place to ride with you. Their armada of bikes spans all cycling varieties, helping customers begin their two-wheeled adventures on bikes ranging from mountain and road to BMX and beach cruisers. Anyone who purchases one of these rides also pedals away with lifetime complimentary tune-ups, a 30-day price match guarantee, and a basic bike fitting.
Blackbird's owners, Robb and Melody Smith, provide a creative haven for artists and musicians of all ages and abilities in the 4,000-square-foot Blackbird Music & Art Center, which boasts seven music studios, two classrooms, and an art gallery showcasing the work of their students. In groups of 5–24, students can learn to accurately portray the essence of a loved one's alter ego in the cartooning course, where an instructor teaches students the basics of characters, cartoons, and comic strips. After School Art Club, appropriate for ages 12 and up, challenges brush wielders to learn drawing skills and various art techniques, and The Art of Sketching class demonstrates the different drawing and shading techniques needed to decorate paper and metallic public-bathroom stalls. Though some supplies are provided, students should check with their instructor about the necessary equipment to bring.
At more than 2,600 stores in more than 30 countries, Dunkin' Donuts serves coffee and iced beverages, fresh-baked donuts and desserts, and savory breakfast sandwiches. Since Bill Rosenberg opened the first location in Quincy, MA, in 1950, the donut shop has blossomed into a one-stop coffee and breakfast restaurant familiar to millions of morning rushers and afternoon sippers.
Behind the counter of each location, glazed french crullers twist and curve like Parisian city streets, and Bavarian Kreme donuts are filled with a sweet, golden custard. A cavalcade of meats is available for piling onto breakfast sandwiches, such as sausage, cherrywood-smoked bacon, or ham enveloped with fluffy eggs and melty cheese between a choice of crisp crusts. Health-conscious risers can fuel strenuous bouts of lifting cars in the drive-thru line with a Wake-Up wrap, which offers options such as egg whites with turkey sausage or veggies that add up to as few as 150 calories. Both sweet and savory selections pair well with a freshly brewed cup of coffee or a creamy, frozen Coolatta drink.
Though commuters can snag a quick pick-me-up within minutes, the wafting aromas of baking confections invite patrons to sit inside and embark on nostalgic reminiscences of syrup-coated playground slides. Beyond the bakery walls, the company aims for social responsibility with its support of community volunteer efforts and use of 100% fair-trade-certified espresso beans.
Dos Boot Computer Store's tech-heads get to the heart of the problem with free diagnosis on all PCs, laptops, and software. Then, whether it's nefarious spyware or a burnt-out part mucking up the works, they get to work restoring computers to their former glory. That is, once they consult clients on necessary repairs and services. Sometimes repairs may be so extensive that it's best to simply get a new machine. They have customers covered there, too, as they sell refurbished notebooks and PCs.