Before hitting the salon floor, Elite Beauty's pupils undergo rigorous training in the techniques and artistry of cosmetology and nail technology. The academy's stylists—many of whom are bilingual—administer their newfound knowledge in a salon surrounded by sunshine-yellow walls, pulling from an expansive service menu to primp tresses, skin, and nails. Teaching staff also prepare current pros to become cosmetology instructors themselves, the beauty-industry equivalent of a university with a PhD program or the culinary school that appoints the next Chef Boyardee.
Triple Check Techs is a trio of trained and certified technicians who have more than 20 years of experience in IT and computer repair. They'll gladly arrive onsite to fix, pick up, or drop off ailing machines—both Windows computers and Macs—that may be crashing, slow, or overrun with viruses. After performing appropriate diagnostics, they can the recommend a course of action, such as part replacement, system reinstallation, or defenestration. In addition to virus removal, computer security, and new system setup, they offer a slate of network services, setting up wireless or hard-wired networks. The team can also head off technological headaches by installing software and hardware and recovering and backing up data.
The Chicago White Sox have some truly dedicated fans. In 1994, the team decided to reach out to the youngsters who worshipped their footwear. They sought to provide kids with the same conditioning and training they honed their skills with, so they started a sports-training summer camp. In a mere seven years, demand for the trainers' services necessitated that the program conduct year-round sessions in all types of sports, and the Bulls/Sox Academy was born.
Taught by the trainers who spend their life making sure that the Sox and Bulls are ready to hit the field or court, Bulls/Sox Academy's lessons bring professional techniques to aspiring athletes. Baseball programs teach functional speed movements for high-speed base stealing and help kids build the upper-body strength to knock balls out of the park and through the windshield of their least favorite neighbor's minivan. The basketball course divvies up training between shooting, skills, and defensive play. The fast-pitch softball teachers—both former professional players and longtime coaches—arm students to beat back high-velocity pitches without hurting the ball's feelings.
Students at the Cortiva Institute schools gain a respectful appreciation for the healing potential of massage therapy, which they then pass along to clients in the form of relaxing, massage-shaped memos. Beginning with an initial consultation consisting of a brief interview and verb-conjugation quiz, Cortiva students gain full understanding of the client’s trouble spots and cantankerous knots. Once pinpointed, tense tissues achieve relief with the artful flow of gliding strokes and gentle kneading, resolving aches and Rubik’s cube tattoos to restore a general sense of well being. Clinical and myofascial techniques deepen multilayered sessions by improving postural balance and soft-tissue function to enhance circulation and plate-spinning performances. A supervising faculty member stops by for a few minutes during the treatment to assist student therapists and choreograph stress-relief dances, and post-massage, clients fill out a short form to provide feedback for aspiring muscle-menders.
Ride Chicago and Rentaruckus are two different businesses that are bonded by their passion for promoting two-wheeled transportation. At Ride Chicago this passion manifests in a variety of classes, for which it supplies beginners with motorcycles or scooters. Once student riders are geared up, the facility’s state-certified instructors teach everything from scooter-riding basics to motorcycle licensing at controlled, off-street sites across the city and suburbs. This diverse curriculum allows people of all riding experiences to climb aboard a two-wheeler and learn safe canyon-hopping methods.
Rentaruckus’s mission is a bit more concise: get people behind the handlebars of a Honda Ruckus scooter. To do this, the staff offers rentals and organizes tours of Chicago, where swarms of the minimalist bikes buzz past the city’s historic neighborhoods and sights.
Root 66 Aquaponics Garden Shop has all the accoutrements of a standard garden supply¬—USDA-certified organic seeds, pots, and organic fertilizers. But Root 66 is hardly your grandmother's general store. Its focus is hydroaquaponics, which creates a symbiotic relationship between a tank of fish and the garden on top of the tank. The sustainable method uses a system of pumps and tubes to harvest and distribute plant food from the fish tank below. The fish, in turn, are fed, sheltered, and taught to use salad forks by the plants above them.
In the shop's introductory video, founder Shawn Odneal says that hydroaquaponics is, "the future of food production and the closest I can get to self-sustainability," by "taking traditional gardening techniques and applying them in a new way." In addition to specializing in hydroaquaponics, he also strives to make gardening accessible to city dwellers with rooftop and vertical gardens.