In 1988, Russ Weldon was on the cutting edge of technology: car phones. He opened up the first location in what would become a chain of Wireless Zone stores with The Car Phone Store. His business took off, but it wasn’t long before cellular phones stole the spotlight from their car-bound brethren. Today, his business has grown into a healthy chain of Wireless Zones, which includes a location in Long Grove, and Russ and his team continue to adapt to technological advances. The staff curates a collection of cell phones, GPS navigation devices, prepaid phones, and accessories that help keep customers in touch when they’re on the go, far away, or far away and stuck in a pit of quicksand.
Fourth-generation storeowner Robbyn Ratskoff and her staff of trained stylists outfit clients of all body types in the latest blouses, jeans, and dresses from brands such as Black Halo, Hazel, and Rich & Skinny. Apprenticed under her mother—founder of two local boutiques—Ratskoff leveraged years of retail experience to bring her sharp fashion sense to the people of Buffalo Grove. With an emphasis on high-end, designer denim, the boutique's jean inventory includes styles that hug curves better than an Aston Martin at a roller rink. Meanwhile, racks support the soft heft of light, flowing blouses and warm sweaters from brands including 360 Sweater and Autumn Cashmere.
At Sushiyaki, chefs roll up creative cuts of sushi, glaze meats with teriyaki, and whip up noodle entrees complemented by Japanese beers, wines, and teas. Red walls, eclectic decorations, and tunes from guest DJs fill the traditional dining area, and Japanese-style private rooms feature low tables and floor cushions. Bento boxes and sushi buffets let visitors plan their own taste-bud excursions, during which the smooth, black sushi bar becomes an airport check-in desk inexplicably staffed by fish-slicing chefs.
Galway's private lessons focus on honing hunter- and jumper-style riding, which skirt western-style accessories such as spurs, saddle horns, and John Wayne bobbleheads. Aspiring equestrians aged 7 and up rehearse trots and lead changes across the 7,200-square-foot heated indoor arena, and an observation room and deck provide sweeping views of students' jumps and turns. Weather permitting, horses unleash longer strides on the 20,800-square-foot outdoor riding arena. Four full-time trainers conduct and observe every lesson, ensuring safety while safeguarding megaphones from any passing horse whisperers. After lessons, equine companions retire to one of 26 heated stalls in the barn, inviting lucky students to exclusive mucking parties. The stable leases lesson horses and offers boarding for current horse owners.
Swaddling sports fans and educational aficionados in clothes and accessories celebrating the nation’s highest institutions, University Avenue packs a sizable stock of scholarly products inside its hallowed walls. With clothes and accessories saluting more than 75 schools and universities, the campus clothier has everything to satisfy doting grandparents, fresh-faced freshman, and enthusiastic college-football oddsmakers. Celebrate a sibling’s graduation by sporting a t-shirt ($16–$28) or hoodie ($32+) emblazoned with the moniker of their alma mater, or toast your school’s physics department’s recent acknowledgement of gravity with an assortment of college tumblers, mugs, and water bottles ($7–$20). A huge selection of hats ($21.99–$24.99) and shorts ($29.99–$34.99) help lend authenticity to bathroom-mirror Heisman Trophy acceptance speeches, and to stoke the healthy flames of competition, University Avenue even has decals ($4.99) for coating school spirit across the faces of adversaries.
So established is Circle K that even brand-new vehicles recognize what its red-and-white logo stands for?fuel, snacks, and everything else a car might need to keep powering down the road with its driver. Circle K's story starts back in 1951, when Fred Hervey bought three Kay's Food Stores in El Paso, Texas. Under his guidance, these three little shops grew into the more than 3,000 convenience stores that crouch on our nation's street corners today.
After rolling up to a Circle K, drivers can pump their faithful roadsters full of high-octane fuel and send them skipping through a car wash to experience the cleansing touch of Blue Coral Beyond Green and Rain-X products. Then it's time to step inside the air-conditioned shop for a peek at the provisions. Rows of sodas hibernate behind glass doors, and snacks, candy, and their ATM guardians stand boldly out in the open. Some Circle Ks also offer the Take Away Fresh Caf?, which presents an appetizing lineup of healthy road fare including sandwiches, fruit cups, and fresh-cut vegetables. Drivers can gear up for a long drive with premium coffees or enjoy a cold Polar Pop, whose specially formulated cup keeps drinks colder thanks to the family of tiny snowmen trapped in its foam walls.