Brake-O-Rama began as one location in 1949 but now boasts 14 service centers speckled across the East Coast. Together these automotive hospitals work as a force, repairing and maintaining domestic and imported vehicles of virtually any make and model. Before sourcing spare parts from the company's private warehouses, Brake-O-Rama's ASE-certified technicians thoroughly analyze vehicles with advanced diagnostic technology that includes four-wheel computerized alignment systems, electron microscopes that scan for chipped paint finishes, and magnifying glasses ever in search for clues to Professor Plum's murder. Meanwhile, Firestone, Goodyear, and Michelin tires fill the supply closets, allowing the patrons to tighten their grip on the asphalt before a cross-country trip.
"My car has never needed any professional help to keep it in tip-top shape," proudly proclaims no car owner ever. In reality, automobiles require regular maintenance and people with know-how to keep it in drivable condition. Fortunately, Aamco Transmissions is well supplied with such people. An official inspection center for New York State, Aamco Transmissions' expert technicians make sure cars are road-ready with computer diagnostics, multi-point inspections, repairs, and maintenance services.
As the name would indicate, transmissions are something of a speciality here. In fact, the company is considered the world's largest transmission specialist—with more than 850 centers across the country, Aamco Transmissions has worked on 20 million transmissions since opening their first location nearly 50 years ago. After sending out complimentary tow trucks to haul away cars in need of servicing, they get to work rebuilding and repairing transmissions on every make and model.
To call The Body Shop a mere skin and body care store is to miss half of what makes it special. Late founder Dame Anita Roddick was a pioneer for ethical business practices; upon opening her first store in Brighton, England, in 1976, she developed company values such as "Defend human rights" and "Protect our planet." She somehow balanced principles and profit, partnering in global campaigns with UNICEF, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and the United Nations, all while expanding her brand into 2,500 locations in 60 international markets. After her death in 2007, then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, “She campaigned for green issues for many years before it became fashionable to do so and inspired millions to the cause by bringing sustainable products to a mass market. . . . She was an inspiration.”
Indeed, the Body Shop exhibits an eco-friendliness that's hard to come by in a company of its size. Its products have been fair-trade since 1987, and its Against Animal Testing movement led to a UK-wide ban of animal testing of cosmetics. The products are made from ingredients harvested from around the world: shea butter from Ghana goes into body scrubs and butters, and Indian artisans craft wooden massagers and tote bags that are screenprinted by hand. But all that isn't to say the company's production practices overshadow its final products. Skincare treatments such as the Blue Corn 3-in-1 deep-cleansing scrub mask often appear in Allure, Marie Claire, and other national publications.
Auto electronics have changed a lot since 1989. Tape decks gave way to iPods, LCD screens brought movies to the back seat, and the Internet expanded from college campuses to car interiors. Frank Rodriquez and his crew at Exotic Auto Boutique have worked on the frontlines of this technological evolution, wielding a half century of collective expertise while tailoring vehicles' aesthetics and equipment. Specializing in seamless audio updates using Soundstream equipment, the team also sells listening gear for DIY installation from other brands including Pyle and Kenwood. With an enthusiasm for unusual projects, they invite big dreamers in for complimentary consultations for projects to make over school buses as limos, trick out children's bikes, or transform pumpkins into horse-drawn teleportation devices.