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Mike Kelly had a sore back, not to mention torn-down shower curtains, a decimated bathroom, and clogged drains, all courtesy of his 160-pound newfoundland, Gordo. He decided to start a self-service dog-wash business, not simply for his own sake but for other sore, slobber-riddled dog owners as well.

And so In n Out Self Serve Dog Wash was born. There, pet owners find a series of green-walled semiprivate stations that house walkup tubs for a variety of dog sizes, including a couple of extra-large sizes to accommodate massive pups or several small dogs that became stuck together after an ill-fated jelly-sandwich incident. Equipped with washing hoses and shampoos, dog owners can disrupt muddy paws and fur before rinsing and styling their pooch's pompadour with a high-velocity, no-heat blow dryer. Or they can seek out the help of the shop's professional grooming services, which include nail trimming, ear cleaning, and packages with breed-standard trims.

300 North Ave
Garwood,
NJ
US

You might expect the menu at Oh' Brian's on the Green to be just as casual as its atmosphere?after all, the restaurant is surrounded by a golf course, and sports games regularly broadcast from its many flat-screen TVs. You'd be mistaken, however. Entrees like braised short rib, new york strip steak, and sesame-crusted tuna accompany small plates, such as the reuben nachos, lump crab cakes, and fish taco. Of course, the chefs don't overlook the need for classic game-watching eats, as burgers, sliders, and mac 'n' cheese dishes populate the menu as well. Thursday through Saturday evenings, live music suffuses the space courtesy of local rock bands, acoustic musicians, and piano-dueling shows.

1300 Raritan Road
Clark,
NJ
US

When Claudia Avans decided to end a successful public-relations career and open her own business, her family and friends had their reservations?but that didn?t stop Avans. As reported by Jessica Remo of the Clark-Garwood Patch, Avans used to spend her time throwing launch parties for luxury brands throughout the United States and Latin America. But when she started attending kids' parties with her two young daughters, she was disappointed in the events' levels of customer service and knew she had the skills to raise the bar.

The culmination of her experiences in marketing and mothering is Parti-licious: the ultimate personalized party destination for kids. An EntrepreMoms blogger who attended the studio's opening-day festivities found Avans and her team to be "warm, kind, and professional," and felt that the crystal chandeliers, feather boas, and jewelry helped guests "channel their inner princess." But if a princess theme isn't your daughter's cup of tea, not to worry. She can choose from plenty of other options, ranging from runway diva to a literal cup of tea in the Tea-time Delite Parti, which comes complete with hats and gloves, a cupcake tower, and glamorous add-ons such as a chocolate fountain or limo ride.

Avans focuses not only on the guest of honor's every whim, but on convenience for parents. "The years pass by so quickly," she told David Choi of the Cranford Chronicle. "Special moments shouldn?t be spent planning, they should be spent enjoying the party and creating memories." Her girl-power-fueled School of Glam also makes parents' lives easier with manners workshops, where youngsters can learn proper table etiquette, guidelines for online behavior, and the most compassionate way to tell an invisible friend she isn't real.

340 North Ave
Garwood,
NJ
US

At Creative Kids, imagination is the driving force behind the programming for each day. The school’s facility boasts an art room, a movement and dance area, and a parent’s lounge, with rooms painted in bright solid hues of purple, green, and orange. Kids are encouraged to express themselves and discover new talents, whether that means building robots out of LEGO blocks, rocking out in a music class, or embracing their inner Picasso in an art class. With such a wide variety, kids can let their imagination run wild and choose from a broad selection of signature party themes and activities.

300 South Avenue
Garwood,
NJ
US