A championship wrestler by the age of 10, Xcelerate Training owner Craig Marks developed a commitment to exercise early on, leading to a wrestling scholarship and national ranking as a college wrestler. Though a serious neck injury cut his wrestling career short, Craig has remained loyal to his fitness pursuits for more than 20 years, now helping others achieve their goals by designing personalized workouts based on his workout philosophy that combines muscular training, nervous-system training, cardio, and balanced nutrition.
This philosophy comes to life within Xcelerate Training's facility, where Craig and his staff of trainers steer fitness seekers to healthier bodies during both private and group training sessions. The Xcelerate team's creative style incorporates unique props and workouts that take place on an indoor stairway to help burn calories. A 24-foot rock-climbing wall adds a vertical dimension to workouts, as well as birthday parties and corporate mixers for mountain goats.
At Chase Evans Salon and Spa, the team of stylists and aestheticians is under no illusions about what it takes to create an excellent client experience. “Constant commitment,” the owner insists, is what drives each staff member to go above and beyond the call, from the way they listen to clients during complimentary consultations, to the ceremonial backflip with which they conclude each successful blowout. In between, hair stylists––each boasting more than 20 years of experience––craft custom cuts and colors with European products, helping heads adopt a look as vibrant as the chandeliers that flank the front of the salon.
Removed from the bustle of the salon, aestheticians conduct their tranquil services inside a soundproofed treatment room. Massage therapist Milena Barbic—who’s been with the salon since its opening—eases muscle tension with traditional and hot-stone modalities as quiet music calms clients and gently sings stress to sleep.
The friendly stylists at Jigsaw Hair Salon wield a wide range of Keune products as they customize hair services for women, men, teens, and children. Clients can watch their transformation play out in each station's teardrop-shaped mirror as stylist refresh color, straighten stands with Keratin and Japanese Chi treatments, and twirl tresses into elegant updos for special occasions. Within the professional yet relaxed atmosphere, clients are also beautified with French tip mani-pedis or makeup applications that show them how to apply cosmetics to highlight their best facial features or most regrettable tattoo.
When not giving their undivided attention to their clients, the salon's team spends time giving back to the community by participating in children's charity events including toy drives.
Sock-footed children scamper around 7,000 square feet of indoor space that, like most office buildings, has specified zones for different age groups ranging from infants through preschoolers. In the back area, older kids strengthen eye-hand coordination with video games such as Madden NFL, while bounce houses help youngsters expend their boundless energy. In the playset area, kids can play house in a pretend kitchen, play train engineer on kid-sized railroads, or play Godzilla by sticking their hands in dollhouse windows. Infants and toddlers wander around a simpler play area near the parents' lounge, where guardians can keep one eye on their kids and the other on a TV or computer screen. At the end of the day, all surfaces are purified by a professional cleaning service with hospital-grade disinfectant.
Elite Cake Creations began as a little bakery in Cuba way back in 1921, so it's had nearly a century to perfect its cakes, desserts, and pastries. Today, Beatriz Otero continues the long family tradition started by her grandfather, using tried-and-true recipes that call for buttercream frosting and fondant with vanilla-, chocolate-, and marble-cake bases. Beatriz can customize cakes to look like everything from a flame-painted speedboat to a bucket of cold Coronas. She extends this art form to cupcakes and push-pop cakes. She also relishes the opportunity to craft cakes for special occasions, constructing eight-layer wedding cakes, birthday cakes shaped like wrapped gifts, and 50th anniversary cakes made of solid gold.
At Bloom Nursery, owner Diego Scort and his staff of green thumbs nurture the tender blossoms and lush foliage of the nursery's stock of palms, shrubs, and budding vines. They strive to help customers gussy up their gardens with organically and locally grown plants, as well as those that have been adapted to thrive in South Florida's climate. In addition to sending visitors off with flourishing flora, the staffers also equip gardeners with the materials, supplies, and tips necessary to keep plants from sprouting rampant weeds or eloping with tumbleweeds just passing through town.