Thanks in part to Miracle on 34th Street, the classic Christmas film, and its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, Macy's has been immortalized in the minds of generations of Americans. It's hard to imagine that Macy's was once a small storefront operation founded by a businessman whose previous stores had failed. But success was just around the corner.
Eleven dollars and six cents. That was the total of first-day sales when Macy's opened its doors in 1858. Of course, at that time, it wasn't a retail superpower?it was a small dry-goods store on the corner of 14th Street and 6th Avenue in New York City. Before founding that little shop, Rowland Hussey Macy had suffered several failed retail ventures. This time, things would turn out differently.
By 1877, R.H. Macy & Co. had become a full-fledged department store, spreading its way into the ground spaces of 11 adjacent buildings. Just about 25 years later, the store had outgrown even those expanded confines, so the company moved to its iconic Herald Square location on Broadway and 34th Street. There, Macy's began to attract shoppers from the rest of the country and the world. This location also saw the store become a major part of American holidays, especially in 1924, when immigrant employees wrangled the city's packs of stray floats and organized the first annual Macy's Parade.
Today, Macy's boasts 850 locations across 45 states and US territories. A far cry from that initial dry-goods shop, the modern-day stores carry everything from clothing and shoes to furniture and electronics. Though it is now headquartered in Cincinnati, the company's flagship store in Herald Square still attracts throngs of customers from all corners of the globe. The same can be said for the Macy's website, which is one of the most visited retail destinations on the Internet.
While trekking across New Zealand, Matt Baker and PJ Lamont stumbled upon a burger shack in Queenstown and immediately became addicted to the eatery?s organic, grass-fed beef patties. According to a profile in Beach & Bay Press, the duo often dined there more than once a day and eventually convinced the chef to both part with his recipes and train them how to make them. Upon returning home, the pair recruited PJ?s brother Martin for their budding endeavor: a gourmet burger place that would rely entirely on organic, grass-fed beef from New Zealand.
The menu quickly garnered its fair share of media buzz and awards by combining beef patties, ground fresh daily, with unique ingredients such as pesto aioli, grilled pineapple, and beetroot. Organic, local vegetables make up the condiments and the house tomato chutney, New Zealand?s hardier version of ketchup. But Bare Back Grill does more than burgers, satisfying appetites with natural chicken and lamb, tempura tofu, and seared ahi tuna coupled with a wide selection of beers and wines. Guests can gulp down Kiwi Steinlagers or sip Australian and New Zealand wines while lounging at either Bare Back location.
Porcelanosa’s journey from mom-and-pop design firm to world leader in kitchen and bathware began in 1970 on the Mediterranean coast of Castellon, Spain. Today, the company’s founding family oversees more than 400 showrooms in 70 different countries, exporting the latest in European home design to the rest of the world. Its minimalist, modern designs play on clean lines and muted colors, incorporating elegant accents such natural stone bathtubs or rectified porcelain tile, which mimics the Carrara marble used to build the Pantheon, sculpt Michelangelo's David, and construct the world's first paperweight. Its engineered hardwood flooring draws eyes to smooth planks of white oak in a spectrum of stains, vying for attention against tiled mosaics made of stone, ceramic, or brick.
In addition to turning kitchens and bathrooms into walk-in works of art, Porcelanosa adheres to its founding principles of care for the environment and reducing ecological impact throughout its production chain, using water recycling and gas-burning technologies at its plants to reduce its carbon footprint.
After spending years as a salesman for top mattress lines, Steve Shore needed a new mattress himself. Rather than opt for a steep employee discount on one of the mattresses he sold, the enterprising Mr. Shore collected various natural materials and had them assembled into a mattress that met his exacting specifications: a comfy sleep cushion made with no potentially toxic components. The result was such an improvement over the big-name mattresses he sold that Mr. Shore and his son eventually decided to produce a line of organic mattresses based on the prototype, on which Mr. Shore slept soundly for more than a decade.
Now, the Shore men sell their mattresses under the Eco-Cloud name in The Natural Mattress Store. Made from high-quality steel coils topped with natural latex, Eco-Cloud mattresses resist accumulating allergens and nightmare blueprints and retain their shape and support for years. Organic wool and cotton covers help keep sleepers cool and snug in bed by deflecting body heat and wicking away moisture. Each Eco-Cloud mattress comes with a 12-year, nonprorated warranty. In addition to the Eco-Cloud line, The Natural Mattress Store carries more than 20 organic mattresses, as well as eco-friendly, solid wood bedroom furniture from Pacific Rim Woodworking, Bedworks of Maine, and Vermont Furniture Designs.
At Fresno Fencing Academy, head coach and former Soviet and Ukrainian champion fencer, Vladimir Ostatnigrosh, distills his experience to foster a new generation of duelers within a 4,200-square-foot facility that boasts electric fencing strips, a fitness room with weight machines, and changing rooms. Ostatnigrosh invites students of all levels, aged 7 and older, to discover the art of parrying and thrusting, which nurtures self-discipline while bolstering the cardiovascular system and developing the skills necessary to retrieve stolen lunch money from Zorro. The academy’s classes, which range from introductory to competitive levels, cover the three Olympic fencing weapons: the foil, the épée, and the saber. Those expert swordsmen and swordswomen who have mastered the fencing rules and refrained from detonating any last-resort grenades during a match defend the academy’s robust reputation at local, regional, and national tournaments.
Since 1972, Exotic Plants has encouraged locals to improve their interior air and go green with potted plants. The business stocks a range of low-maintenance plants that thrive indoors, including palms, succulents, cacti, and evergreen chia heads. Since other plants, such as orchids and bonsais, can require a bit more effort, the store holds plant-care workshops and even makes house and office calls to keep plants well maintained. The staff helps indecisive owners select plants during design consultations, and the store offers a selection of plants and blooms for short-term event rental. As Exotic Plants also carries bright pots and natural fertilizer made with Icelandic sea kelp, customers can grab everything they need to help their leafy, spiky, and persnickety friends flourish.