Hands dig into the springtime earth, heaving up tufts of Missouri dirt cooled by the nearby waters of historic Jowler Creek. The year is 2004 and Colleen and Jason Gerke are trying their hands at winemaking, planting 250 norton grapevines in the ground near their home. Today, the 7-acre plot of land houses more than 3,000 vines, protected by insect-consuming chickens, rodent-hunting hawks and owls, and weed-noshing sheep who graze at carefully managed intervals. The sustainable vineyard sprouts grapes used to concoct nine award-winning wines?from dry to sweet?which are crafted with solar-powered devices. Jowler Creek Vineyard and Winery regularly hosts tours for up to 30 people, where patrons spend approximately 90 minutes observing the crash-diet techniques grapes undergo before squeezing into Jowler Creek's trademark baby blue sealed bottles.
Rod’s Hallmark offers gift-givers a myriad of attractive options, from dainty ornaments and well-crafted glassware to sparkling jewelry. With the holidays a swiftly approaching, ominous glow on the horizon, Hallmark is releasing 100 new Keepsake ornaments ($7.95 and up), with soon-to-be treasured tree-danglers including the Peanuts characters on ice and the Switzerland edition of the Santas Around the World collection. Freshen up your living room or shrine to Ben Stein with autumnal scents from Yankee Candle ($1.99–$24.99). Davinci Jewelry makes the ideal gift for your special anyone, with alluring beads ($6.99), necklaces ($19.99), and bracelets ($10.99) for your perusal. And, of course, Hallmark offers a wide array of gift and greeting cards for virtually every conceivable holiday, from recordable birthday cards to oddly specific missives that congratulate grandmothers on accidentally escaping from maximum-security prison.
My Best Friend's Closet and its sister stores—Wear House and More and Wear House Exchange—curate a sprawling stash of gently used, modern apparel for men, women, and children. At each shop, a style-savvy staff strives to keep its showrooms brimming with designer apparel that's within 2 years of current fashion trends, working to maintain a contemporary selection free of outdated looks and time-traveling bell bottoms. The team adds hundreds of items to its inventory every day, and can help shoppers further complete ensembles with a fleet of accessories such as shoes, jewelry, and purses.
Clothes and furniture find new life at Red Racks Thrift Stores. Through donations, the staffers at the store's 13 locations fill their racks and shelves with thousands of second-hand items for kids and adults, including name-brand garments from the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, Levi’s, The Loft, and Donna Karan New York. They also stock furniture and other miscellaneous goods, such as books and home décor.
And something odd happens when these items arrive at checkout—the register doesn't ring up any sales tax. That's because Red Racks is a nonprofit organization, and all proceeds go to benefit the Disabled American Veterans, an organization that has advocated on behalf of veterans for more than nine decades. Red Racks' altruistic mission has proved successful so far—the inventory of each store typically turns over every 3–4 weeks.
At more than 1,200 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.