More than 50 years go, Mike Ilitch was poised for major-league glory. An up-and-coming shortstop for the Detroit Tigers, his baseball finesse was blossoming when an injury derailed his sports career. But although the wound stunted his athletic aspirations, it steered him toward a new path, and on May 8, 1959, he and his wife opened the first Little Caesar's location, a then-unheard-of carryout-only joint. The career shift and novel technique eventually proved triumphant—today, the pizzeria's iconic, toga-clad mascot adorns storefronts on five continents. In each shop, staffers forge the signature Hot-N-Ready pizza, a freshly baked pie designed for instant pick-up, and warm, garlicky Crazy Bread. With a storied half-century under their belt, Mike Ilitch and his family strive to give back, supporting local organizations and creating its own charitable programs.
Armed with just a single, generations-old cookie recipe, Great American Cookies opened its first store in 1977, and the rest is history. Today, the franchise boasts locations in malls across the country and nabbed a coveted spot on Entrepreneur magazine?s 2012 list of Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. The shop?s reputation grew, and so did its menu as chefs churned out a mouthwatering roster of gourmet-cookie recipes, each created and carefully tested in Atlanta. The tempting options now include snickerdoodle, peanut butter with M&M?s, and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real showstoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.
The culinary construction crew at Papa Murphy’s, the highest-ranking pizza chain in the 2010 Zagat Fast-Food Survey, builds a tasty menu of customizable Take 'N' Bake pizzas that patrons can heat up in the comforts of their own homes. Visitors watch as the chefs assemble thin- and stuffed-crust pizzas in-store using fresh dough, one of four sauces, shredded cheese, and up to 24 toppings. The pizza artisans then package the handmade creations for customers to bring home and cook in kitchen ovens, on backyard grills, or over an overheated car engine. Papa Murphy's collection of comestibles complements circular meals with sides of bread, salad, and chocolate-chip-cookie-dough dessert.:m]]
Bedzzz Express facilitates the best night’s sleep possible by taking inventory of customers’ sleeping habits to help them choose the perfect mattress. President Keith Krininger credits this practice with Bedzzz Express success, which has resulted in 32 store locations sprinkled across three states. In the showroom, models from Sealy, Serta, and Simmons cushion bodies at rest with a range of comfortable materials including foam and pillow tops that help lull customers to sleep. Mattresses and mattress sets are available in twin, full, queen, and king sizes and can be delivered locally.
Sunset Tanz pays attention to the tiny details, swapping out tanning bulbs before they surpass 66% of their projected lifespan. The salon also offers special tanning-cocktail packages that combine the bronzing power of a UV bed with the all-over coverage of the salon’s automated Mystic Tan booth. And after sessions conclude, the shop encourages guests to browse a selection of Australian Gold, Swedish Beauty, and California Tan lotions that lock in darkness more efficiently than a ghost hunter armed with a cage full of lollipops.
When it comes to fun at Bowlmor Lanes, folks aren't locked into just bowling, though there's plenty of that. Glow-in-the-dark lanes and banquette seating beckon players to try their hand at bowling or chill out and order drinks and snacks from lane-side servers. But for the pin-weary, there are other forms of entertainment including billiards, air hockey, and ping pong for purchase. These myriad amenities make Bowlmor Lanes a destination for group get-togethers such as birthdays and "No-Kevins-Allowed" club meetings.