For years, Bill Ahmann mastered the complex inner workings of piston and turbine aircraft as an aviation mechanic. In 1997, he finally achieved his dream by founding his own aviation company out of Anoka County-Blaine Airport. Initially a small venture with a staff that totaled three, Bill's penchant for providing aviation-related services with a personal touch led to rapid growth and a second Twin Cities Aviation location in Saint Paul. In 2008, Bill's veteran squad of flight instructors helped the company achieve Part 141 certification, distinguishing it as a reputable flight school. Today, TCA's staff numbers more than 20 industry professionals drawn from military, commercial-airline, and other aviation backgrounds. Flying a tiptop fleet, the team boasts varied expertise in charter flights, FAA-certified flight instruction, and aircraft sales. The staff's experienced mechanics also service pilots and plane owners with repairs that range from routine safety inspections to refueling propeller hats.
It started with a single store, opened in Fridley, Minnesota in 1964. But Dick Kempe's pizza proved too tasty for one outpost, and Chanticlear Pizza eventually spread to 14 locations in the following years. And although Dick no longer owns the pizzerias, his uncompromising standards for quality pies remain in place. Fresh dough is mixed up and hand-tossed daily. Vegetables are chopped each morning. Instead of adding sugar to their sauce, the chefs rely on the tomatoes' natural, charm school-perfected sweetness. And the from-scratch foundation is always topped with house-shredded, 100% Wisconsin mozzarella cheese.
Once the dough and sauce are ready, Chanticlear Pizza's chefs continue the process by loading them with meats and veggies. The selection of toppings range from shrimp and bacon pieces to a secret-recipe pickle blend. A splash of spicy, bourbon-tinged molasses or chunky salsa can add additional pizzazz to pizzas. Beyond circular eats, polygonal dishes as pastas, calzones, and sides of buffalo wings and garlic toast populate the menu.
The aromas of coffee, cupcakes, chocolate, and cherries waft through the air inside Spalicious, where aestheticians pamper faces and bodies with custom, flavored skin treatments. Each rich, creamy body polish is forged from natural ingredients, such as the piña colada's fresh coconut cream or the cinnamon-apple pie's enzyme-packed apple purée. The scented salves work to soften, hydrate, and exfoliate skin as staffers brush them onto clients' bodies with the same care Leonardo da Vinci took when adorning the original Blue Man Group.The staff members extend their pampering finesse to the rest of the body, swathing hands and feet in similarly flavored solutions and further gussying up skin with herbal body wraps and henna tattoos. They also bolster beautified façades with organic, custom spray tanning and onsite fitness classes such as Zumba, yoga, and belly dancing.
A bowling alley, sports bar, 4,100-square-foot arcade, and convention hall all reside within Blainbrook Entertainment Center. In the bowling alley, families and friends challenge each other at one of 24 neon-lit lanes equipped with automatic scoring or join the center's competitive leagues for adults and children ages 5–19. Meanwhile, sports fans grab a seat in the sports bar to watch games on big-screen TVs, listen to live music, enjoy steak dinners from the menu, or play pool. Pool tables also fill the arcade alongside poker tables, dartboards, and more than 50 games, including virtual-reality games. And when guests need to host a wedding reception, family reunion, or rock-paper-scissors competition, they fill Brookhall–a large convention center with a bar, crystal chandeliers, and access to an outdoor garden.
The team of therapists at Tiny Apples Massage Therapy soothes tense muscles with modalities such as Swedish, pregnancy, sports, and therapeutic massage. These techniques can ease injured muscles, improve range of motion, and call lazy blood cells to action. During hot-stone massages, massage therapists use smooth stones to loosen curmudgeonly knots. They also use a Japanese technique known as reiki, which targets the body's life force energy through the laying on of hands. They can also enhance these bodywork techniques with aromatherapy and detoxifying foot soaks. The former adds invigorating scents to the session, and the latter expels impurities by putting each sullied foot through a trial by ordeal.
Minnesota Helicopters’ Robinson R22 hovers like a hummingbird high above the St. Croix River, an ideal vantage point for scouting the surrounding bluffs for bald eagles. The craft then swoops toward St. Paul, darting past skyscrapers and the state Capitol. Tours such as this spotlight Minnesota’s natural and urban splendor from a singular perspective. In addition to the St. Croix River, pilots trace routes up the Mississippi and over Lake Minnetonka, and can even customize flight routes for passengers.
Those not content to cruise in the passenger seat can sign up for Minnesota Helicopters’ flight school and eventually chart their own courses for friends or stowaway ostriches.