It was 1978. A college dropout and a failed medical-school applicant had just brought together their combined life savings to rent an old gas station. Their plan was to resurrect the empty station and open their own restaurant. Their specialty: ice cream. So begins the story of legendary entrepreneurs Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who are better known across the globe as Ben & Jerry. Their small, old-fashioned ice-cream parlor eventually became a Burlington, Vermont favorite, and before long, shops popped up all over the U.S. and in 25 other countries. Their brand easily attracted customers––homemade ice cream churned from wholesome, natural ingredients and blended into creative flavors. Some of their popular scoops include Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey, and Coffee Caramel Buzz.
Since infusing their first rich and creamy batches of ice cream with natural chunks of fruit, nuts, candies, and cookies, Ben and Jerry have also operated with a commitment to improve the quality of life locally, nationally, and internationally. They practice sustainable food production and business practices that respect the earth and environment. Ben & Jerry’s cartons are made from FSC-certified paper, which comes from forests that are managed for the protection of wildlife, and waste from Ben & Jerry’s plants generates energy to power farms. The company works tirelessly to reduce its carbon emissions; it strongly encourages customers to eat their ice cream in the darkest dark.
Beginning as an offshoot of Cambridge's historic textile industry and a complement to the inventive business model of By The Pound, The Garment District continues combining a repertoire of hip, quirky clothing with eco-friendly practices of recycling and consignment. The hard-working staff of 40 intercepts gently used fashions and unworn apparel before it can be carelessly thrown away or wasted on stylish scarecrows. More than 40,000 wearables don men, women, and children in modish displays of vintage, contemporary, and designer clothing, drawing in hats, dresses, shoes, and accessories from sources across the country to keep the racks stocked with millions of pounds of clothing throughout the year. Thread handlers sort through collected duds, hanging the stylishly suited on racks, sending overstock clothing to developing countries, and shipping soiled or torn clothing to a shoddy mill, where it is ground up and sent as threats to fashion designers.
It all started with a deflated basketball. Though longtime friends Mike Kennedy and Eric Martin scoured downtown Boston for an inflating needle to fill it, no shops in the area carried one. They were frustrated—and they realized that other Bostonians looking for athletic gear were likely frustrated too. So in 1983, they opened City Sports, a shop stocked with all the footwear, athletic apparel, and sports equipment that the metropolis had been missing.
Nearly three decades later, Mike and Eric's neighborhood business has expanded to 20 shops across the East Coast. In addition to stocking popular brands such as Vibram, The North Face, and Patagonia, the store engineers its own CS by City Sports line. Shoppers include yogis, cyclists, and tennis players—anyone seeking to outfit active lifestyles, whether they're playing a team sport or braving the hike up the world's largest gumdrop. In addition to footwear and apparel, the staff stocks fitness equipment such as kettlebells, lifting gloves, and dumbbells.
A 40-foot mahogany bar dominates the space at The Spirit Bar, allowing bartenders to slide any of the 50 available brews to patrons while they watch up to eight different games on 12 televisions, including seven 42-inch plasma screens. The bar's year-round premium sports packages keep the apple-red walls echoing with the sounds of professional baseball, hockey, or college football, and it hosts viewings of every college-basketball tournament game and pay-per-view ultimate-fighting event. Dartboards and weekly pub-trivia nights help keep patrons occupied in between athletic broadcasts.
Even the menu strives for an inclusive neighborhood feel, featuring an eclectic combination of international and regional comfort foods. The cooks slather wings with one of 17 different sauces—such as chipotle-bourbon barbecue, caribbean jerk, or garlic and parmesan—and they hand-form each Angus-beef burger patty. Fried fish 'n' chips evoke the menu of a transatlantic pub, and nachos with homemade salsa and guacamole recall flavors from south of the international date line.
Born in Taxco, dubbed the silver capital of Mexico, Tis * tik's owner Perla Brito Cuevas spent her youth rubbing shoulders with local designers at her family's jewelry store. From there, Perla’s love of artisanal jewelry manifested itself in the creation of a Boston boutique where she imports wearable works of art from Mexico's most creative designers, many of whom share her Taxco birthplace. Named for a Mayan term meaning, "a warm welcome to you," Tis * tik amasses the masterpieces of artisans such as Pavel Perez, who twists pure silver into intricate earrings and rings, and Leticia Rayas, who molds real fish scales into colorful necklaces that fit into decorative boxes hand-painted with birds and flowers. Perla rounds out her accessory arsenal with vibrant handbags, some of which have been molded from recycled candy wrappers by jail inmates as part of a rehabilitation program.
The brand American Apparel, which recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, conjures up images of stylish and well-fitting fashion basics. It also likely brings to mind sassy advertisements featuring long-haired beauties in natural makeup posing in skin-bearing bodysuits and loungewear.
But what many don't know about the brand?despite its name and the slice of apple pie that comes with every purchase?is that all of its clothes are made in America. Everything from sewing and cutting to accounting and marketing happens in one building in downtown Los Angeles, and the rest occurs within a 30-mile radius. Not only that, every slim-fitting pair of pants, spandex bodysuit, and v-neck T-shirt is made in a sweatshop-free environment.
Plus, keeping everything in house means the company eliminates unnecessary and wasteful factors, such as shipping fuel and packing materials, as well as provides jobs to Angelenos, instead of outsourcing them.