Despite what its modest name suggests, Simply Hair Salon & Beauty Supply does a lot more than hair. Sure, their stylists can sculpt a beautiful and personalized haircut, straighten curls with keratin, or add some extra dimension with highlights. But the team also boasts aestheticians who revitalize skin with facials, sculpt eyebrows, and turn nails into tiny pieces of art during mani-pedis. Simply Hair's roster of most valuable players also includes a particular inanimate object: candles. When placed in the ear and lit—a process appropriately known as ear candling—they can potentially treat ear problems and annoying issues, such as allergies or a weird voice that only seems to speak during the finale of TV shows. On special occasions, the salon opens its doors to host stylish events. In the past, this has included showcasing the fashionable jeans of Lavender Blues and Vault Denim.
Paula Gauthier loved working at Yesterday’s Books through high school and college so much that she ended up there, years later, as a manager. When the owners retired, she and her husband, Phillip, decided to buy the store and continue its more than three-decade run as a repository of new, used, rare, candy-coated, and out-of-print books. Today, the Gauthiers continually update a collection of more than 100,000 titles, all categorized into sections such as general fiction, classics, theology, and children's books stacked on floor-to-ceiling bookcases. They also stock eight always-unlocked display cases with rare books, such as a first edition of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin that would buckle the knees of any bibliophile, history buff, or person named Tom. Other collectibles range from a specially bound copy of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six to a signed volume by Edgar Rice Burroughs, author of the Tarzan and John Carter series.
The Gauthiers have also brought modern updates to the shop, such as replacing the paper-based store-credit system with an electronic one, which even gives members an online account to track available funds. Phillip observes that some regulars swap out up to 50 books per visit. In addition to book collections, the Gauthiers maintain a catalog of CDs, DVDs, and sheet music.
Harland Watch & Diamond's cases glint and glitter with shafts of prismatic light bouncing off skillfully cut gems. Working closely with patrons, staff members help match each customer with pieces that suit their tastes and fall within their budget, from pearl and diamond bracelets and earrings to designer watches to Montblanc pens perfect for forging presidential directives.
For Fresh Ideas owner Derik Bakker, flowers are more than just petals and stems. “They stir something,” he explains. “It’s not a ream of paper or a T-shirt. It’s something far more personal.” That stirring is why, three times a week, Bakker’s team pilots a refrigerated truck more than 100 miles to pluck the freshest farm-grown coastal buds. Directly sourcing flowers allows Fresh Ideas to keep prices down and also increases its flexibility when filling orders. Bakker can provide hundreds of flowers in bulk to clients 50 miles away while still handcrafting small floral arrangements for locals.
The unique nature of Bakker’s business also allows for a more personal interaction with clients. Unlike larger companies that are forced to interrelate with impersonal 1-800 numbers, Fresh Ideas staffs floral specialists who go over colors with clients, offering suggestions. They can even special order out-of-season flowers from as far away as South America or the secret NASA greenhouses on the moon.
This attentiveness has made the company a popular arrangement source for area restaurants and markets, and anyone who sets foot on the grounds can see that Bakker's passion runs deep. He and his 17-year-old daughter––coincidentally named Sarah Rose––have spent the last year planting seeds by hand in their own onsite sunflower garden. He tells those who ask that they grew the blooms "the old-fashioned way"—the same way he's grown his business.
Tidy rows of blueberry bushes stand as high as six feet tall and stretch for as far as the eye can see at VanderHelm Farms. Fresh, juicy blueberries dangle by the hundreds from each plant, ready to be hand-plucked and taken home for pie recipes, healthy snacking, or emergency paintball ammunition. The VanderHelm family takes pride in inviting the community to forage through their bounty of seven different types of highbush blueberry, such as Snowchaser, San Joaquin, and Legacy. Regardless of variety, blueberries possess many healthful attributes on top of their deliciously tart taste, including antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that help alleviate the effects of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other age-related conditions.