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designer apparel that's within 2 years of current fashion trends, working to maintain a contemporary selection free of outdated looks and time-traveling bell bottoms.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.
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.
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.
A glass bottle of milk sways to and fro, its lid hooked to a loop around the deliveryman's wrist as he carries a box of Fresh Connect KC's locally sourced produce to the front door. Hungry homeowners pry their weekly boxes open to reveal mélanges of local produce, grown in accordance with Fresh Connect's unique beyond-organic standards, verified through visits to each farm, which span from small family enterprises to farming programs for inner-city youth. When the ground begins to freeze, Fresh Connect turns to farther-flung farms for each order, sourcing only certified organic produce with a life-long desire to travel. While the contents of each order are bound to the seasons, members can alter their weekly shipments in advance through an online portal, where a preference list feature helps keep unbeloved vegetables from appearing. Beyond fresh produce, Fresh Connect also fills boxes with local eggs, cheeses, meats such as sausage and bacon, and pastries from local bakeries.
With more than 386 locations dotting North America, JCPenney Optical's ubiquity is matched only by its extensive selection of contact lenses and designer frames that includes brands such as Armani Exchange, Liz Claiborne, and Nicole Miller. Despite this wide reach, all lenses are cut at the same optical laboratory, ensuring a consistency of quality and a pretty good idea of where to look if your glasses run away from home. Each location has an independent state-licensed doctor of optometry, who can perform vision exams and help clients determine which type of vision correction will work best.