John Edwards founded The Well Fed Dog several years ago after falling in love with a raggedy lab mix named Sasha. When John and his wife adopted Sasha, she was 6 months old, underweight, underfed, and riddled with fleabites, but the family was determined to nurse the small pup back to health. During the process, John discovered Sasha had a chicken allergy, and so he had to carefully read the labels on the dog food they were buying her. What he discovered disgusted him—many foods were composed of animal byproducts, synthetic vitamins, and other ingredients unfit to feed a cherished member of the family, no matter their species. And so John began to craft his own recipes for dog food, using careful research and advice from veterinarians, fellow pet owners, and even professional chefs.
Featured in the Boston Globe and national Natural Dog magazine, The Well Fed Dog and its recipes include real meats, such as lamb, salmon, and beef, and vegetables including sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, and celery, and the products can now be found in many stores. All of the handpicked ingredients are also human grade, perishable, and packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. The food is slow-cooked then frozen before being divided into small batches to help with quality control and is packed into cooler bags for safe keeping. To keep pets happy between meals, The Well Fed Dog also sells special treats that dogs love, such as deer and moose antlers, smoked-beef marrowbones, and pictures of cats wearing humiliating hats.
Commended by Boston magazine in 2008 for wedding-gown preservation, Dependable Cleaners offers a basketful of laundering and dry-cleaning services. Turn last night's unfortunate ketchup incident into tonight's food-free canvas with same-day service. Items dropped off before 8 a.m. Monday through Saturday can typically be picked up by 5 p.m. that same day, depending on the location. Though prices vary by location, all stores offer the same reliable de-staining services for dusty dresses ($14.04–$15.34), slovenly shirts ($2.54–$2.88), and pigpennish pants ($7.08–$7.98). Hide a fading summer tan with a freshly depurated jacket ($7.65–$8.52) or sweater ($7.23–$8.73). Dependable Cleaners locations can also handle unconventional vestments such as ballroom gowns, Ugg boots, and antique tri-cornered hats.
The staff at Good Vibrations aren't salespeople—they're SESAs, or Sex Educator-Sales Associates. The title was invented by the store to reflect not only the rigorous training that the employees go through, but also the open and empowering attitude that they project. They encourage questions about the stock of romantic accouterments, and dispense safe, respectful advice on enhancing erotic play. For the SESAs, knowledge is a stepping stone to pleasure. They've even employed the same sexologist and historian—Dr. Carol Queen—for more than 20 years to host a regular "Ask the Doctors" class.
Above all, the staff keeps a warm and welcoming shop—a characteristic that automatically distinguished Good Vibrations from its counterparts when it opened in 1977, an era when most adult shops were dimly lit and guarded by demons. Extending the positive, forward-thinking ethos beyond the shop's walls, the company has committed to environmentally friendly wares with its Ecorotic collection of natural lubricants—as well as eco-friendly packaging. The shop is also stocked with candles, costumes, and lingerie with the Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco locations carrying their largest supply of nightwear.
The staff at Zoots Dry Cleaning extracts stains and stress by pairing eco-friendly dry-cleaning services with the convenience of extended evening and Sunday hours, 24-hour drop-off and pickup services (available at most locations), and an automated drive-thru system. Team members clean clothes, draperies, bedding, and rugs with a biodegradable solvent as opposed to harsh PERC chemicals, and some staff are trained to expertly excise stains from the delicate lace and beadwork of bridal-gown bodices. Most stores also have a tailor on location who is able to alter ensembles in a snap. Customers get e-mail notifications when orders are ready or they can download a smartphone app to keep a close eye on the status of their dirty laundry.
Since 1982, Sea To You Sushi's deft chefs have traveled across the region doling out fresh, meticulously constructed sushi rolls at colleges, businesses, hotels, and country clubs. They cull an extensive supply of ingredients at their store, tapping into the well-stocked stash to guide nascent sushi-smiths through the art of constructing maki and nigiri rolls during Sushi School sessions.
The mobile gourmands also cater private parties, regaling revelers with custom menus and war stories about ferocious clumps of seaweed. Die-hard sushi fans can join Sea To You Sushi's C2U Sushi Club, which grants member discounts and special access to the company's facilities.
A decade ago, Chuck Silverston was walking the streets of Paris when he happened upon a street vendor whipping up crepes. After tasting the quintessential Parisian treat, he returned to the states and promptly opened Paris Creperie. Inside the cozy café, the kitchen churns out crepes brimming with savory ingredients such as brie and apples or sweet fillings such as graham cracker and cinnamon, as well as smoothies and coffee. Nutella is a mainstay on the menu, making its way into dessert crepes as well as into drinks such as hot chocolate and lattes. In the spirit of Chuck’s original street-vendor encounter, Paris Creperie also unleashes its food truck—la Tour Eiffel—among the hungry denizens of greater Boston, feeding passersby with breakfast and dinner crepes all day.