The Fire combats artistic snobbery with an all-inclusive array of creative building blocks. Inside the studio’s downtown location, rows of paints and unfinished ceramic pieces line countertops, and an old-fashioned television set leisurely recounts its favorite Lone Ranger episodes. Large work surfaces and a play place for kids ensure that both children and adults have room to take creative risks. Cavalier creators can paint pottery, craft mosaics, or cobble together a transparent 10-gallon hat with glass fusing (the average project is between $10.99 and $25.99). Pottery painters select their objects from a selection of plates, platters, and other decorative items, then begin painting with the help of a color consultant.
Fox River Fitness Boot Camp’s instructors Joel Zeiner and Alicia Doerr—endowed with NETA and NSCA personal trainer certifications, respectively—specialize in reintroducing physical activity to those who have long done without. On orientation day for new students, they'll record a confidential health history, take measurements, and set goals designed to aid students in tracking their progress. They equip each attendee with all the accessories and gear needed for each class, meaning that trainees need only bring comfortable clothes in which to move and sweat.
Inspire Fitness Studio—the fitness center used for the boot camp—boasts ultra-modern yet unintimidating confines that aim to appeal to the peepers while comforting new clients. Exposed golden-brick walls warm up the ceiling’s network of industrial piping, while floor-to-ceiling windows reveal picturesque views of the river and synchronized parasailors.
The Exclusive Company—a Wisconsin-bred music-and-movie retailer—has given the gift of song since 1956, earning a Best of Milwaukee award from Shepherd Express readers in 2011. Passionate staffers guide visitors toward sprawling collections of rock and jazz and bins brimming with DVDs, Blu-Ray discs, and loose 8mm slides from Kenny G's summer vacation. In addition to peddling new vinyl releases such as El Camino by the Black Keys and Revolver by T-Pain, the shop functions as a trading post, helping to find loving homes for preowned films and music. All used discs are carefully buffed into shape before meeting their new owners, and each comes backed by a money-back guarantee, which promises store credit if a preowned item exhibits biting tendencies. Most used CDs, DVDs, and vinyl cost less than $20.
Fantastic Sams is a full-service salon for the whole family that will sculpt frazzled follicles into a look-twice hot commodity. All haircuts start with a soothing shampoo using the Fantastic Sams signature line of products and a three-minute scalp massage that is intended to increase blood flow, promote hair health, and rid the cranium of laser-tag-related stresses. Whether you choose to place your fibrous future in the deft hands of a creative Fantastic Sams shaper or have been saving a special style to match your favorite state senator, each lock will be snipped and primped to match your desired look. Each of the Fantastic Sams confidence-renewal centers are staffed with follicle fanatics who will listen to your needs and whisk worries away with precision and kindness.
Within the sunny shelter of a sprawling greenhouse, clusters of potted perennials and annuals flourish beneath hundreds of hanging flowers. Seasoned growers have nurtured these buds into bloom in the Fox Valley climate, which means plants are already acclimated to the weather, growing environment, and particularly snarky bumblebee gossip of the local area.
To help customers navigate the vast stock, staff enhance the plant displays with growing tips. If budding green thumbs require additional guidance, growers on staff happily hunt down plants and flowers suited for their particular plot.