For A Runner's Circle’s founders, Joe and Derek, running is more than just a sport, it’s a way of life. With Joe’s running experience and Derek’s physical therapy expertise, they decided to team up and create a place where runner’s could come for support in all aspects of the sport. The result is A Runner’s Circle, where the duo has established a loyal community at their running store that topped Competitor magazine’s list of Best Running Shops in 2011 and 2012 in Los Angeles.
The friendly staff is highly trained in gait analysis and shoe technology, allowing them to offer expert recommendations on which shoes customers should wear on their feet, and which shoes they should wear on their elbows. They can outfit customers with selections from the store's stock of running, trail, and minimalist shoes from some of the top brands in the industry, including Asics, New Balance, Newton, and Hoka OneOne. They also have access to apparel and accessories ranging from shoe bags to water bottles and high performance hats
A Runner’s Circle also supports the running community with frequent events, races, and running clubs. They host educational events and running clinics, support environmental preservation, and also contribute to AIDS research funding by community awareness campaigns and donations.
In 1927, after seven years of Prohibition, Vincent Rizzo had an idea. He would buy a winery. While this may have been an unconventional move, he knew he could get Bernardo Winery at a lower price and keep the business thriving with an unlikely product: olive oil. In a stroke of cunning and arguable genius, the first-generation Rizzo owner made use of the olive trees growing on his property, selling the cold-pressed virgin oil to many of the tuna canneries in downtown San Diego. He also continued production of sacramental wine and grape juice that was, according to the winery's website, "guaranteed to ferment by the end of the road."
The winery grew to be one of San Diego County's major wine suppliers in the late 1940s, and Vincent turned the family business over to his son, Ross, in 1962. Ross's passion and dedication fueled the winery's success until his passing in 2008. Ross Rizzo, Jr. now keeps his father and grandfather's legacies alive, adding new varietals and winemaking techniques to the company's repertoire while paying homage to the old ways. Ross still sources his grapes from local vineyards and produces and cellars his wine to develop each variety’s distinct flavor.
Guests can get a behind-the-scenes look at the historic winery during tours and tastings, and the scenic spot also hosts private parties at several outdoor venues and in the Barrel Room, where wooden rafters and huge redwood wine-storage vats create a rustic feel. Once they are done tasting, visitors can wander through a micro village of shops and studios or get a bite to eat at Cafe Merlot. The sprawling property features nods to its storied past with accents such as wagon wheels and an antique thresher machine and events such as grape stompings, otherwise known as do-it-yourself purple pedicures.
Bodies twist and arch through space in a series of progressive rotations. Participants cycle their shoulders, leap into crouches, and even swing club-shaped weights that resemble a clown's juggling pins. Watching a Circular Strength Training class at Chrome Fit might call to mind scenes of a mesmerizing circus performance, but the intent of the workout is anything but laughable. Rather, its dynamic actions help to broaden range of motion while simultaneously building muscle.
Circular Strength Training is one of five specialized classes led by Chrome Fit's coaching team. Though they utilize different tools—including gymnastics rings, kettlebells, and yoga techniques—they all have a holistic focus on increasing poised and powerful mobility. Their practical applications range from reducing chronic pain and competing in marathons to, in the case of TACFIT sessions, learning to tackle and safely recover from the crisis situations faced by police, military, and emergency personnel.
Owner Sheri L. Covey and her staff supplement these group classes with private personal-training sessions, as well as customized duo or small-group seminars. They adapt their instructions to suit clients of all fitness backgrounds, instead of simply telling newer students to watch the older ones until they feel ready to lift the same weights. Through boot-camp and corporate-wellness programs, they also encourage achievements in a more general community setting, drawing from the entirety of their class curriculum to plan varied drills.
In 1967, radio technician and Army veteran Richard Savoy debuted a collection of used books, comics, and old National Geographic magazines in a 750-square-foot space. It was an unusual niche that turned out to be just what the neighborhood wanted, and the original collection planted the seeds of a local literary institution that’s gone on to swallow neighboring storefronts and shoot off into a music, fiction, and DVD annex a few doors down. In 2009, Savoy sold the bookshop to three longtime employees who have put their own stamp on Green Apple Books with innovations such as selling e-books, hosting events, and adding energy-efficient lighting that shines brightest on the stuff you really want to read.
Over the years, the most important facet of the charmingly creaky-floored haven has remained the same: an abiding love for all things literary. You can read it between the lines of the handwritten "shelf-talkers"—small, colorful signs detailing the staff's personal recommendations. You can hear it when you speak to the friendly booksellers themselves—according to Frommer's, the store's "extended sections in psychology, cooking, art, and history; collection of modern first editions; and rare graphic comics are superseded only by the staff's superlative service." And you can feel it in the air as you climb the winding staircase to the second floor to explore tucked-away alcoves surrounded by original gaslight fixtures.
The store's carefully curated and ever-changing inventory ranges from categories such as poetry and philosophy to sports and children's books. The enormous selection and the staff’s astonishing command of it all have earned Green Apple numerous awards, including the title of Best Independent Bookstore in the San Francisco Bay Guardian's 2010 Readers Poll, and Best Overall Bookstore and Best Used Bookstore in 2011 and 2012. The owners spread the joy of reading beyond the shop’s overstuffed walls by partnering with worthy causes such as the Asia Foundation's Books for Asia program and Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.
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.
Mike Johnson started at Dolphin Scuba Center & Swim School as an entry-level staffer but soon turned his lifelong passion for water into a promising career. Quickly, he became the manager and, at the tender age of 21, the owner of the store—a water-exploration supplier originally founded as a swim school almost 40 years ago.
Today, the PADI five-star facility boasts one of the largest selections of underwater gear in North America, including top brands of scuba, swimming, and snorkeling equipment. Johnson and his team still offer private, one-on-one swimming lessons with certified lifeguard instructors but have branched out into scuba classes. Introductory courses work their way up to professional-level training, all within a pool heated to 92 degrees—the exact temperature of the president’s nightly bath. Students can even test out their newfound skills during scuba-diving trips to the likes of Mexico, the Philippines, and Fiji.