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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Inside the family-owned indoor playground of HippoHopp, kids glide down slides, explore playhouses, and navigate their way through obstacles courses. Free air hockey and foosball keep kids of all ages busy, and play castles and age-appropriate activities entertain youngsters in the area reserved only for toddlers. The facility buzzes with a variety of structures that encourage sensory-play as well as motor skill and social development. All of these play perks have earned HippoHopp the 2012 and 2013 title of Best Party & Event Planning Place in Atlanta, as deemed by Kudzu.
While mini minds keep busy with excitement, free WiFi and magazines are available to parents, who join their children at the bistro-style café for healthy snacks such as mango peach smoothies for breakfast, fresh-ground fair-trade coffee served weekday mornings until 10:30 AM with biscotti. Healthy choices for kids include organic, gluten-free, and diary-free menu items. Along with encouraging health-conscious exercise in kids, the staff at HippoHopp maintains an eco-conscious space by cleaning its facility with nontoxic, biodegradable products.
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.