Ace Hardware's project people assist and advise on a gamut-running range of home- and garden-oriented endeavors. The 20-pound propane-tank refill will pump up a deflated cylinder with the energy to grill juicy burgers, cook corn on the cob, or blaze a flame that can be used as a nightlight for adults locked out of their own houses. Like a roaring campfire or a solar panel, the propane-tank refill can also be used for outdoor heating.
After seven years spent as a banker, Fish Window Cleaning founder Mike Merrick decided to try his hand at something that mattered. He packed up his business acumen, drew up a plan, designed his own uniforms, and finally opened shop in 1978. With his characteristic hands-on approach he grew the small business from one location into a bustling network of 220 franchises spread across 40 states and one lonely lunar outpost. Today, Mike's foundational principle of pairing residents with thorough, uniformed professionals continues to impress organizations, earning accolades from Entrepreneur magazine and a Torch Award from the Better Business Bureau.
The 483-horsepower V8 engine roars in front of you as you shift gears, and the speedometer climbs over 150 miles per hour. Gliding down the straightaway, you grip the wheel of a Ferrari F430. You don't need to buy your own exotic car to experience this adrenaline rush: American Racing Experience connects visitors with a similar emprise on four major raceways across the United States. At scheduled times at the Motorspeedway in Atlanta, Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania, Summit Point Motorsports Park in West Virginia, and Adams Mortorsports Park in Los Angeles, they brief drivers on the handling and controls of sleek Ferraris and V10 engine-powered, six-speed Lamborghini Gallardos. After preparing visitors for the upcoming track with a lap in a pace car, instructors slip into the passenger seat—letting their guests take the wheel for a driving experience more extreme than some TV show set on an island.
Bates Ace Hardware has been inspiring ambitious homeowners since 1921 with rows upon rows of home-improvement implements, household appliances, and domestic essentials. The shop’s technicians are certified to perform warrantee repair tasks for lawn mowers, power equipment, and karaoke machines from manufacturers including Stihl, Snapper, and Honda, while their salespeople are trained to answer nearly any home-improvement question their customers ask. Inside, a wide selection of hardware, paint, plumbing, and electrical supplies shares space with gifts, home decor, men's and women's clothing, and housewares. Customers can venture outside to find a variety of power equipment and a dedicating cooking area, while the garden section brims with bagged mulch and soil, along with a variety of plants from Monrovia Nursery when spring rolls around.
With humble beginnings in 1924, Ace Hardware now comprises 4,600 stores in all 50 states and in more than 70 countries, guiding everyone from seasoned do-it-yourselfers to novices through its massive inventory. Enlist the aid of a knowledgeable pro while sifting through tools, lawn and garden supplies, electrical equipment, and outdoor-living accessories that simplify the hosting of backyard barbecues and the hanging of Christmas lights on zoo animals. Holiday accessories such as 100-count lights ($9.99) and portable fireplaces ($29.99) aid and imbue celebrations with seasonal spirit. During any time of year, a hatchet ($18.49–$36.99) helps forest visionaries see the wood for the trees, and a second mailbox ($13.99–$84.99) doubles the amount of fan mail homeowners can expect to receive.