The scene is a familiar one: hotel guests lounge beside the outdoor pool as staff members filter around, offering refreshments or collecting clients for a spa treatment. However, at Pet Paradise, the pool is bone shaped and all the guests are dogs. This luxurious scene is one cat and dog owners can find at this boarding and daycare facility that has been owner Fred Goldsmith's pride and joy for a decade. The animal lover was inspired to start his own pet hotel when he simply couldn’t find a place he was comfortable leaving his bichon frise when he went on vacation.
Fred made Pet Paradise to his exact specifications, and the pet hotel's amenities reflect the loving care he lavishes on his own beloved pup. Dogs and cats can luxuriate in spa-quality grooming treatments or burn off some energy during group playtime. In the evening, pets can settle into plush bedding and feel safe knowing that the dedicated live-in staff resides just a bark away. Nocturnal kitties spend the night exploring their own private six-level cat condos while gentle spa music fills the air to keep them entertained. In case of any emergencies, Pet Paradise keeps veterinarians on-call, and in the event of a snack emergency, each staff member is a certified bacon cook.
Matt Janke dreamed of landing the perfect glass-blowing job. After moving to Atlanta in 1986, he realized there wasn't a single glass studio in town, granting his art a ready-made niche. After settling in, he returned to grad school, earning an MFA in glass with the intent to launch his own university program and ultimately procure his own space. By the time he graduated in 1992, Matt further honed his skills, stockpiled equipment, and, in 1996, opened his own studio and hired himself.
Beyond the perks of being his own boss, having his own studio affords Matt a great deal of creative freedom. He infuses all his handblown light fixtures, tumblers, and vases with the prismatic swirls of his signature style, in which precise lines and natural variations vie for attention across undulating surfaces. A downtown gallery space facilitates sales of these works.
But the studio has also fulfilled more than Matt's original goal of finding glass-blowing employment, going on to catalyze a glass-blowing community. From single apprentices in the early days, the studio is now a full-fledged classroom, with space for five instructors, a dozen students, and the kilns that must melt their glass until they each finish their training by capturing and taming a fire-breathing dragon.
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Ron Haynes and his daughter, Jessie, have built a business from smiling faces. They don't snap yearbook photos or transform dentist gloves into balloon animals. Instead, they helm teeth-whitening shops that brighten smiles in 20 minutes, and since 2005, they have brightened over 50,000 smiles in 6 locations across 3 states. It's within Pro White Teeth Whitening's straightforward walk-up setting in Buford, Georgia, that the Haynes have performed more than 12,000 treatments, and the locations in North Carolina offer either convenience at their South Park Mall kiosk or privacy at their office locations.
Armed with Beaming White, an FDA-approved teeth-whitening system that pairs a peroxide-based gel with a UV-free LED light, their team of technicians helps clients brighten their choppers with an applicator pen. Cheek retractors expose the teeth so the gel and light reach every inch of enamel. Once the light unites with the gel, coffee, tea, and grass stains begin to vanish. Teeth continue to lighten after the treatment, achieving a color that's 3-5 shades whiter over the course of 24 hours. With proper care, results can last up to 12 months, or roughly the time it takes to adapt the phonebook into a comedic opera.
Father-and-son team Robert and Fred Lee worked as homebuilders for years before going into business selling lights in 1965, so they knew how quickly something impressive could rise from a humble foundation. Sure enough, Lee Lighting, their small family company, grew to include a vast online retail shop and one of the largest lighting dealers in Texas. They've even purchased Savoy, a company that designs fixtures to bring cheer to dining rooms and make rooms full of ventriloquist dummies less terrifying.
Lee Lighting stocks shelves with a diverse selection of indoor lamps from brands including ELK Lighting, Quoizel, and Hudson Valley. Staffers certified by the American Lighting Association move beneath the dazzling crystal sprays and faux candles of chandeliers. They suggest outdoor lighting to transform backyards into regal terraces. They also stay abreast of lighting trends to help patrons select lights that will stay in style.
When Wine Shoe owners Nora and Shannon Wiley started planning the shop's design, they wanted something that would blend their worldly travels with the historic culture of the surrounding Castleberry Hill neighborhood. The result was promptly recognized by Atlanta magazine, which compared Wine Shoe to a "private wine cellar in France stocked with wines from all over the world."
Today, the facility's floor-to-ceiling wine wall stands as a new challenge to rock climbers and as a stunning backdrop to an assortment of wine-related activities, including classes that drew more than 3,000 total students during 2011. Many of those students gathered around Wine Shoe's 12-foot rustic table, where, sitting beneath a glistening bronze and crystal chandelier, they paired sips with scrumptious hunks of education.
The shop carries more than 150 different wines, the majority of which come from small producers. It also keeps its door open to pooches, as Nora and Shannon's security dog, Beeren, is always looking for new buddies with whom to discuss the nuanced flavors of rawhide bones.