Since its founding in 1980, Sun & Ski Sports has remained true to its philosophy: “do a few things, but do them better than anybody else.” The shop stocks equipment in five categories of extreme and outdoor activities, including camping, skating, running, bicycling, and water and snow sports. It specializes in these to ensure its merchandise maintains a high standard of quality, and its employees are knowledgeable participants in the sports their department represents.
Bikers can drop off their steeds for tune-ups from certified mechanics who put all brands through the rigors of a 12-point inspection, checking chains and adjusting wobbly pedals and malfunctioning spoke-card motors. While waiting, curious eyes might linger on a North Face two-person tent, a Blackburn Airtower bicycle pump, or a vast selection of shoes from brands such as New Balance and Asics. Men and women can traipse nearly barefoot in the park with Vibram FiveFingers, which offer minimal structural encumbrances for a more natural stride, or cast their feet aside for the new-wheeled prowess that comes with a Fuji SL-1 LE Ultegra performance road bike.
In the late 1920s, the Great Depression was rendering most Americans professionally and financially paralyzed. But in a small California kitchen, Merle Nethercutt Norman was putting a plan in motion to formulate her own skincare products and share them with family and friends. She truly believed in her formulas, knowing that by getting them on as many faces as possible, she would develop a following of customers. She was right—within a few years she and her nephew were opening their first studio in Santa Monica, and they eventually unveiled a series of independently operated stores that enabled women to take ownership during a time of gender-based limitations such as men-only restrooms.
Today, in approximately 2,000 stores across three countries, the three basic principles of Merle's original vision still apply. Each studio is independently owned and fosters an in-depth knowledge of the company's own line of makeup and skincare products. Just as Merle shared her creations with close friends and sallow mannequins more than 80 years ago, today's aestheticians embody the business's "try before you buy" philosophy. A menu of complimentary studio services—from foundation checks to express facials—allows patrons to sample the lauded brand before committing to the purchase of products or full spa treatments.
Bow hunting since 1970, Clyde Hartsell knew his passion lay in the sport and what the great outdoors had to offer. While working as an executive at McDonald's, Clyde entered tournament after tournament, honing his skills and surrounding himself with other bowmen at the Tomo-Chi-Chi archery club who shared his enthusiasm for the ancient hunting tools. During training and tournaments, however, Clyde quickly realized the sights and scopes available to him were not up to snuff, lacking the precision a professional archer requires.
After Clyde met his wife, Jean, the two teamed up to start their own archery business and immediately began crafting McKenzie 3-D shooting cards. Now the duo helps equip other bowmen through a retail shop that supplies sights, arrows, rests, and bows. The two also welcome archers to their 18-lane indoor range to practice in a professional environment.
America’s Mattress of the Carolinas' show rooms brim with plush, pillow-top, and memory-foam mattresses that vary in firmness and coil structure to help any sleeper find a match. The staff invites clients to try out a nap or enchanted slumber upon one of the store's own brand of budget-friendly mattresses. The selection also includes Tempur-Pedic models and Serta models, such as the iComfort with gel-infused memory foam.
To accessorize their purchases, clients can peruse a selection of bedroom furnishings, memory-foam pillows, and mattress protectors that seal in a mattress's naturally smoky flavor. Clients can enlist the store's staff to help haul away old bedding and set up new purchases.
Montgomery Gibbs Nursery carries the ingredients to fill any kind of space with greenery or florals, be it a tiny windowsill garden or an expansive backyard. When not helping customers find the right plants for their projects, staff members at the nursery spend their time nurturing nascent annuals and perennials and more sizable trees and shrubs. Homeowners can further dress landscapes in red-, brown-, or black-dyed cypress mulch, or grow their own vegetables or fruit trees for endless access to off-the-vine pies.
Ski Stop proffers the latest in snow-slicing technology, with professional in-shop services and top-flight gear. Prep your skis for mountain season with a thorough tune-up, which delights snow gliders with an indulgent stone grind, bevel, and hot wax treatment before whispering inspirational quotes in their ears and sending them back to the slopes. Lift loafers can peruse skis, boots, bindings, and poles in the pro shop, or complete a pre-existing mountain-defeating arsenal with protective wear like GoreTex-laced gloves ($64.95) or ear warmers ($30). Newer skiers can count on Ski Stop's friendly, helpful service to pair them with appropriate equipment.