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.
Overseen by fourth-degree black belt Renshi Jerry Chenault and his wife Michelle, Chenault Pro-Defense Martial Arts Academy trains pupils in the art of Japanese jujitsu with a focus on discipline and self-defense. Training begins with a private orientation in which aspiring masters are granted their uniforms. Groupon holders are invited to continue taking classes indefinitely until neophyte white belts achieve the cheerier yellow-belt rank. Lessons are grouped by age and belt level with classes for smaller spin kickers ages 4–8 meeting 4:30 p.m.– 5:30 p.m. on Mondays, 5 p.m.–5:30 p.m. on Thursdays, and 9 a.m.–9:30 a.m. on Saturdays. White-belt classes for students ages 9 and up meet 5 p.m.–5:45 p.m. on Mondays, 7:15 p.m.–8 p.m. on Tuesdays, 6:15 p.m.–7 p.m. on Thursdays, and 9:30 a.m.–10:15 a.m. on Saturdays.
At Riviera Fitness Centers of Madison—a women-only fitness haven—patrons tackle Les Mills group fitness classes, strength and cardio equipment, and one-on-one personal training, all designed to make gals feel comfortable as they forge toward their fitness goals. The onsite childcare staff supervises tykes so moms can cartwheel off to classes such as BodyAttack and Zumba. During Zumba classes, the studio transforms into a club-like dance-party atmosphere, accented with colored lights and thumping Latin-inspired beats. The instructors lead the easy-to-follow dance steps on an elevated stage, allowing everyone to see the right moves instead of getting discouraged and reverting to the Hokey Pokey. Boot-camp sessions fuse cardio and resistance training to tone physiques as campers wield exercise equipment including kettlebells, barbells, and bosu balls.
In addition to getting fit during group training, ladies can seek one-on-one fitness advice during personal training sessions, which are tailored to suit their goals. Riviera Fitness Center also offers tanning, bronzing recently toned bodies for the beach or flexing in front of a mirror.
The expert staff at Phoenix Paintball Division oversees multiple fields sprawling across 30 acres of paintball action. A woods field cloaks artistic assassins with trees and bunkers, and a tire-and-hay field conceals teams as they rally together toward victory. As in marital disputes between pro athletes, trained referees strictly enforce all rules, making safety the top priority at Phoenix. The pro shop rents and sells all necessary equipment, accessories, and apparel, as well as food and drinks to keep players fueled during friendly outings, group events, or special occasions, such as birthday parties.
Medical Massage Therapy's licensed massage therapists help clients manage pain and regain their mobility. The staff relaxes muscles and relieves tension with modalities that range from relaxing Swedish massage to firmer deep-tissue, trigger-point, and medical massages. Medical Massage Therapy also offers ionic detoxifying footbaths, infrared therapy, and full-body scrubs to keep skin, feet, and organ systems from boycotting the muscles out of massage-related envy.
At Trim-A-Tree Farms, patrons choose their Christmas tree from a plot of still-planted leyland pine trees and chop it down themselves or have an able-bodied staff member cut, net, and load their catch. Guests stroll through rows of lush green trees ($7.50/ft.) in search of the right plant to fill lonely living-room corners as the aroma of pine needles induces memories of a past infatuation with an air freshener. Between passes through the farm, warm up with steaming mugs of hot chocolate or melt fingers over a bonfire's licking flames as little ones trot through fields atop Star, Trim-A-Tree's trusty chestnut pony, during complimentary pony rides. Though additional items are not included in this Groupon, ornaments from the gift shop revamp trees, and adventurous souls can indulge in free temporary tattoos that take the shape of holiday icons or Scrooge's evening gruel.