Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.
Chris Beutz founded Green Horizons in 1988 to combine professional landscaping techniques with a growing knowledge of natural ecological cycles that restore spring vibrancy to yards shocked by winter months. In spring and fall, Beutz and his team clear away seasonal debris, lower the ears of lawns, and trim any remaining patches of scruff. Summer services, such as weekly shrubbery trimming and lemonade sprinkling, keep lawns looking good enough for a garden party. Services save homeowners valuable weekend time to attend their children's sporting events or the NBA Spelling Bee.
In September 2008, Hurricane Ike made landfall in Texas, tearing up trees and demolishing entire houses and towns. When the crews at Urban Tree & Landscape, hundreds of mile north, heard about the destruction, they headed down to Houston to help with the recovery efforts. After a tornado touched down in southern Minneapolis in 2009, the arborists cleared debris and felled trees around the clock. This willingness to tackle the hazardous jobs that other tree services turn down is the cornerstone of the business.
The winner of Angie's List 2011 "Super Service Award", the tree experts at Urban Tree & Landscape offer a number of tree services, including pruning of young and mature trees, removal, and untangling rogue paratroopers. Their knowledgeable field reps have fought off the pests that have laid waste to the emerald ashes and oak population using eco-conscious pesticides. Customers have also lauded their landscaping team, who adds value to homes by planting gardens and installing features such as stone fireplaces and outdoor kitchens.
The Green Guardian nourishes landscapes with an approach that shuns harsh chemicals in favor of effective, all-natural fertilizers, herbicides, and pest-control solutions made from edible ingredients.
A proprietary line of products includes vegan herbicides that fertilize lawns as they kill broadleaf and certain grassy weeds, and granular fertilizers that nourish turf with feed-grade corn, soil conditioners, and naturally-occurring microbial stimulants. Pest-control products use odorless garlic to repel mosquitoes, billbugs, grubs, geese, and displaced vampire squid, all without leaving behind an unpleasant smell.
In addition to lawn-care packages and à la carte treatments, The Green Guardian is also registered with DuPont to remove and replace trees killed by the chemical herbicide Imprelis.
The Tile Shop—as the name coyly suggests—specializes in tile for every imaginable surface and aesthetic style, making it easy for DIY handypeople to tackle small home projects, such as modernizing an avocado-green and penicillin-pink bathroom floor or re-grouting a small garden grotto. Underscore a kitchen with the appetizing orange of pirita siena ceramic tiles ($2.19 per square foot), then trim the counters in lizett beige ($3.99 each) for a complementary finish. Pick up a honeycomb pattern of hex matte black ($5.29 per square foot)—the quintessential backsplash for a gothy bumblebee—or add a touch of character to a small surface with a deep green verde butterfly mosaic ($11.99 per square foot). With its enormous selection of floor tiles, wall tiles, mosaics, and natural stone, the possibilities are as endless as a drive across Nebraska. The Tile Shop also has a plentiful selection of grout and tools for grouting it all together while grinning groutishly.
A renowned chips and salsa bar stocked with eight spicy sauces forged from fresh ingredients winds through Baja Sol Tortilla Grill, where customizable tacos, faijtas, and burritos showcase marinated meats, crisp vegetables, and homemade tortillas. A variety of meat-free, gluten-free, and sentience-free entrees and sides compile the concise menu, and catering services amp up soirees with crowd-pleasing caches of hard-partying quesadillas and churros.