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. After finding the right spot for their gastropub, the three put their own sweat into renovating it; PJ carved the wooden menu himself without using a woodpecker even once.
That 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.
When the climbers of Planet Granite say that community anchors everything they do, they have a history of outreach to back it up. After Castle Rock State Park appeared on California’s closure list, Planet Granite’s team quickly organized a fundraiser to save the sanctuary. They pledged $10,000 in matching funds, threw an auction, scheduled guest speakers, and obtained support from companies such as REI. In one night, they raised $20,725.
This kind of response has typified Planet Granite’s team since opening its first facility in 1994. One of the first climbing gyms in the country, Planet Granite has expanded to three gyms in Belmont, San Francisco, and Sunnyvale. The diverse array of climbing resources at each location led Popsugar to name the gym conglomerate one of the top five in San Francisco in 2011. At the Sunnyvale location, members scale 25,000 square feet of climbable surfaces that ascend from low bouldering terrains to 60-foot walls.
In keeping with their commitment to community, the staff tailors instruction and climbing routes to every ability level and affinity for hand sweatiness. They also supervise each gyms’ fully equipped fitness centers, ranging from CrossFit to yoga, which provides a peaceful counterbalance to the full-body workout of rock climbing.
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.
Gina Rossi's art comes to life in a flurry of sparks and cauldrons of heat. A self-taught artist and certified metal-inert-gas (MIG) welder, her work incorporates fused glass, paintings, and organic metal figures, and has been featured in the Sacramento Press, as well as KCRA Channel 3 news. When she was young, Rossi's forays into art and imagination provided stable solace from her tumultuous and oft-troubled childhood, and her passion eventually flowered into a full-time endeavor. Through her growth as an artist, she adopted a trash-into-treasure approach, working with recycled metal and glass, and earning notoriety for getting Oscar the Grouch evicted to craft a piece from his former home. Her regular welding and fused-glass-art classes share her talents with eager students, as do her efforts with community art projects, which empower young, disabled, and elderly people to make their creative mark in the world.